Most influential Brit expats in property
Arabian Business counts down the most powerful Brits currently living and working in the UAE.
Nick Maclean, managing director, CBRE Middle East
\nAfter joining real estate firm St Quintin as a graduate in 1987, Nicholas Maclean was appointed head of the firm’s professional services department in 1995, becoming partner in 1996. Following St Quintin’s merger with Insignia Richard Ellis — which created CBRE — he became head of the rating and taxation department and a member of the city business team management board. In 2001, Maclean left the CBRE London office to take up an international role within the firm, concentrating on the development and expansion of cross-border European valuation advisory services. In 2004, he was appointed managing director of CBRE Middle East and he currently is leading the firm’s initiative to grow operations in the Middle East. \nMaclean is a fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and of the Institute of Rating, Revenue and Valuation (IRRV). Headquartered in the US, CBRE is widely considered to be the world’s biggest real estate services firm, offering asset services, brokerage, speciality services and projects advice to its global portfolio of clients.
Safi Qurashi, chairman, Q Group
\nBritish property developer Safi Qurashi won his freedom last year after being found not guilty of cheque fraud charges, and was released from jail after serving a two-and-half-year sentence. Qurashi went on hunger strike for seven weeks last year before being released from jail, and used the verdict to call on UAE authorities to amend regulations regarding bounced cheques. He now heads up Q Group of Companies, a new Dubai real estate holding company, which plans a series of new development projects and investment vehicles worth around $200m.
John Davis, regional CEO, Colliers International
\nJohn Davis has over 26 years of property-related experience and is presently regional CEO for Colliers International, which now operates four regional offices. Davis joined Colliers International in 1994 from one of South Africa’s leading financial institutions as general manager — finance for the company’s Property Management Division. Davis was instrumental in Colliers International entering into the facilities management arena across Southern Africa and in 1998 a new division of the company was formed with him assuming responsibility for both divisions as the property and facilities management director, prior to his appointment as the company’s managing director in 2000. By 2000 the Colliers International — SA property management division had grown to administer over $1bn in assets, covering 2.5 million sq m throughout Southern Africa, collecting rentals of over $8.25m per month. This positioned Colliers International as the largest non-institutional property/asset management company in Southern Africa. In 2001 he transferred with Colliers to the UAE to drive the growth of the firm’s business across the Middle East region.
Graham Gill, Managing director, MENA, Sweett Group
\nGraham Gill is managing director of Sweett Group’s regional operations. Gill has broad experience in project and development management internationally. He has a track record in projects in UK, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, many of which have had a multi-billion-dollar value. Gill has been involved from planning and developing virtual new cities to the construction of hi-tech fabrication plants and nuclear power stations. He has also become increasingly involved in green initiatives as the Middle East develops its future resources and power consumption plans. Prior to his present role, the Imperial College graduate held senior positions with Sama Dubai, Al Habtoor Group and MWB/Manhattan Loft at Canary Wharf in the UK.