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edition 11 (225)
November 2017
Eurobuild Awards

The magnificent eight

Who’s going to win the Personality of the Year 2017 award?

Ewa Andrzejewska

The magnificent eight
The nominees (from left to right): Hadley Dean (Echo Polska Properties), Piotr Kaszyński (Cresa), Dariusz Miłek (CCC), Piotr Kroenke (Globe Trade Centre), Beata Kokeli (TriGranit), Robert Dobrzycki (Panattoni Europe), Michał Ćwikliński (Apleona)

This year there are eight outstanding candidates, each of whom would fully deserve the title of Personality of the Year. Sadly, only one can take the prize. The eventual winner is to be announced at the Eurobuild Awards Gala.

I’m going to start this piece in a rather tongue-in-cheek vein: apparently there’s a woman behind the success of every man. Is this true or false? I’ll let everyone answer this question for themselves. However, I think that it’s worth identifying who’s behind the successes of a few of the most notable companies in our region. This should give us a list of those who are most deserving of the accolade of Personality of the Year 2017. But before we do that, what does the selection procedure look like close up? In the first stage those unique individuals who have stood out during the last year are chosen by the editorial team of ‘Eurobuild Central & Eastern Europe’ magazine. Next, a jury, which this year is composed of a record number of real estate and construction experts (over 260 people), will draw up a short-list of three candidates. The voting for this starts on November 6th and continues for a few days. This is to be done electronically, under the strict supervision of KPMG. At the Awards Gala, which is to take place at the Warsaw DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Conference Centre Warsaw on December 6th, the guests attending (app. 800 people) will choose the winner from the three finalists. This will be the third time in the history of the Awards the winner for this category will be selected in this way. So who will be judged as the most eminent personality of the last twelve months?

Lady at the helm

Let’s start with a woman – Beata Kokeli. Her experience on the real estate market goes back 18 years, and has been gained working for such companies as TK Development and Centrum Development & Investments – as well as for CBRE for the last four years. She has already graced the stage of the Eurobuild Awards Gala as the head of CBRE’s retail agency, when in 2015 she received the award for the Best Retail Department of the Year in Poland. This year she has joined TriGranit as asset management director.

Strong male representation

“Robert Dobrzycki has managed to build Panattoni Europe’s position on the CEE and German markets from scratch to eventually achieve the status of the dominant player in Poland. Now he wants to extend his company’s operations into the UK,” says Tomasz Szpyt-Grzegórski, the deputy editor-in-chief of ‘Eurobuild CEE’. Robert started building Panattoni Europe in 2005 by introducing the American brand to new, less predictable territory. In a mere twelve years under his management Panattoni Europe accumulated more than 4.4 mln sqm out of the total of 12 mln sqm warehouse space on the Polish market.

Two other intriguing personalities in the reckoning, Piotr Kaszyński and Michał Ćwikliński, are also unafraid of taking on new challenges. Each has been endeavouring to alter the balance of power on the real estate consultancy market in Poland. In June, Michał Ćwikliński officially announced that he was to lead a new company on the Polish market: Apleona GVA. The managing partner and head of the company in Poland will be responsible for developing its team and for client sourcing. Michał spent the last few years at Savills (where he recently served as a member of the management board and headed the investment department) and prior to this was employed by King Sturge. “We are planning to slice off quite a sizeable piece of the real estate cake (...). The team is the key. If you have great people, success is simply what inevitably follows. I would like to establish a team that is full of energy and enthusiasm – rather than just a colossus on clay legs,” he declared in the July issue of ’Eurobuild CEE’. He has already taken his first few steps in this direction, and now we are eagerly waiting to see how he intends to follow this up. Quite a large team has also been brought together by Piotr Kaszyński, the head of Cresa Polska, a subsidiary of the American group, which provides services exclusively to tenants in the office, industrial and retail sectors. “He stands out because of his long-term market experience and excellent management skills. He knows the commercial real estate market inside-out, in no little part due to his twenty years of experience. Now he has to face a new, fascinating challenge – carving out a slice of the highly competitive consultancy market,” says Katarzyna Matejuk, the project director of the Eurobuild Awards.

Dressed up to the nines

At the end of August it emerged that Spanish tycoon Amarancio Ortega, the owner of the Inditex clothing retail group, had become the richest man in the world. Is this the kind of success that Dariusz Miłek and Marek Piechocki dream of? Dariusz Miłek is the man behind the dynamic growth of the CCC footwear chain. He has been selling shoes under this brand for almost twenty years. He is also the owner of several properties, such as the Cuprum Arena shopping centre in Lublin. CCC currently employs 6,000 people and its entire parent company employs over 12,000. A total of 31 mln Poles bought shoes in CCC stores in 2016, while Such purchases can also be made in 15 other countries (the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Germany, Austria, Russia and Ukraine). And on top of all this, Dariusz Miłek still has the appetite for more. As does Marek Piechocki, who founded his Mistral company in 1991 together with Jerzy Lubianiec. Since then it has become the Polish fashion retail giant the LPP group. Clothes and accessories with the labels of LPP brands (Reserved, Cropp, House, Mohito and Sinsay) are sold in 19 countries across Europe and Asia as well as the Middle East. In 2014 the group started its expansion into Germany and Croatia and in 2015 entered the Middle East with the first Reserved boutique in the region. In early September, LPP opened its first Reserved store in London – a 3,000 sqm boutique at 252 Oxford Street. The company also launched its online operations onto the British market. Marek Piechocki, however, is himself is a very private person who has declined to supply us with a photograph.

Developer or investor?

The TriCity-based clothing group is also present in the Galeria Północna mall in Warsaw, which was opened by Globe Trade Centre on September 14th. The opening ceremony also brought together the entire crème de la crème of the real estate market. One of those individuals behind the development of the shopping centre is Piotr Kroenke, who has been employed by GTC from almost the very beginning of the company’s existence (GTC was founded in 1994 and Piotr Kroenke joined the team in 1995). Now he not only has this latest project under his belt, but was also involved in the development some years back of Galeria Mokotów (opened in 2000) and the Mokotów Business Park office complex, both of which transformed Warsaw real estate map and the overall perception of that district of Warsaw.

The eighth person up for the award is Hadley Dean, the CEO of Echo Polska Properties, who last year asked us to withdraw his nomination for the same award in 2016. Back then he explained that he would like to have the chance to prove what he could do for his new company. So what has the head of EPP managed to achieve over the last few months? He has been chiefly responsible for raising EUR 250 mln of capital to cement EPP’s position as the leading retail property owner in Poland. In this time, EPP has also added eight projects to its portfolio valued at almost EUR 500 mln. Hadley has proved himself to be a highly effective promoter of Poland, which in his opinion is ideal for foreign investment. In the first year of its activities, the value of the company’s portfolio grew from EUR 1.2 bln to EUR 1.7 bln over H1 2017.

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