Property Australia

Property People

Karen Jamal Karen Jamal February 2, 2021

Property leaders are acknowledged with Australian honours, and it’s “new year, new career” for many, including Anita Mitchell, Paul Weightman, Malcolm Tyson and Rebecca Ellston.

Anita Mitchell is the new chief executive for Placemaking NSW, leading the team responsible for transforming some of NSW’s most treasured places including The Rocks, Darling Harbour and Sydney Olympic Park. Mitchell was appointed after an “exhaustive and highly competitive global search”, says NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment secretary Jim Betts. Mitchell has enjoyed a long career with Lendlease in Europe, Asia and in Sydney, as well as other property firms like JLL.

Paul Weightman has retired from his role as managing director and CEO of Cromwell Property Group. Weightman co-founded the fund manager in 1998; today Cromwell has total assets under management of $11.5 billion across Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Chief financial officer Michael Wilde is currently acting in the role of CEO.

Colliers has a new CEO in Australia. Malcolm Tyson has been a senior member of the agency’s Australian and New Zealand executive leadership team since 2005 and held a variety of executive and operational roles, including managing director for the Australian industrial business. He will take over the position of CEO from John Kenny, who was appointed CEO for Asia Pacific at the beginning of 2020 after 15 years in the Australian role. Both Tyson and Kenny will be based in the Sydney office.

Rebecca Ellston is the Property Council’s new executive director in Tasmania, replacing Brian Wightman who was in the job for five years. Ellston most recently worked as senior media advisor to the Tasmanian premier. She has held other advisory roles with the Tasmania Government and was the state political reporter for WIN News. Property Council chief executive Ken Morrison says Ellston was the right person to lead the organisation in Tasmania, at a time where the state is focused on a construction-led recovery.

Greg Whiteside has joined property development, investment and services firm Avenor as head of development. Whiteside, who returns to Australia after a stint in Saudi Arabia brings more than 35 years of industry experience to the role, including six years as Lendlease’s executive director for development at Barangaroo South.

After a long career in the property industry – including 39 years with JLL – senior director David Bowden has retired. Since joining JLL in 1981, Bowden has held several key roles including national head of office leasing and more recently was Victoria’s managing director for more than six years.

In January 2021, Umow Lai’s Melbourne practice joined the Integral Group brand, led by managing director Andrew Oxley, following Umow Lai’s Sydney and Brisbane offices rebranding as Integral Group in January 2020. Umow Lai clients now have increased access to a global network of deep green engineers from Integral Group practices in Australia, Europe, and North America.

James Whittard joined the Telstra property team as a paid intern from the national CareerTrackers program, which creates opportunities for Indigenous students. Whittard is currently studying a Bachelor of Commerce at Macquarie University and expects to graduate in 2022. Whittard, who says Telstra’s “extensive property portfolio” provides “opportunities to work on unique transactions” will be with the telco until the end of February.

Social enterprise Junction, which provides community support services and quality housing in South Australia, has welcomed a new board chair. Rob DiMonte now sits alongside directors Trevor Cooke (deputy chair and CEO of Commercial & General), Stephen Olsson, Pauline Rooney, Fairlie Delbridge and Richard Osborne. DiMonte is a former managing partner for Deloitte in South Australia.

Bates Smart has appointed two new Melbourne studio directors. Karen Wong is leading some of the firm’s most complex precinct projects, including Arden Square masterplan, which offers 580 build-to-rent homes, two commercial buildings and extensive public realm. Johan Hermijanto is leading the design for the new Tweed Valley Hospital in Cudgen NSW and Home Southbank, another new build-to-rent tower. Bates Smart has also made a raft of other leadership appointments. New associate directors are Kelly Burke, Lidija Butterworth, Jonathan Claridge, Helen Cooper, Tania Gordon, Bianca Heinemann, Mark Ojascastro and Brett Staples. Associates are Chris Eggleston, Samantha Ellinson, Ray Feile, Michelle Foo, Joshua Harrex, Jason Knight, Daniel Kumnick, Matilda Leake, Joshua Mulford, Prue Perry, Hiren Sheth and Michelle Skinner.

Alistair Bell has returned to Knight Frank after two years with Cushman & Wakefield. Bell has been appointed partner and joint head for national hotels in hospitality, based in Sydney. He will share the role with Samantha Freeman, who is based in Melbourne. Bell has more than 40 years’ experience in the hotel sector, with the majority of his career spent at Knight Frank. The agency has also made two new appointments to its occupier services team in Western Australia. Theo Smyrniotis is partner, head of occupier services, WA, while Ken Henderson is director, portfolio management, Australia. Smyrniotis spent the last seven-and-a-half in valuations and tenant advisory with Colliers. Henderson has recently returned to Perth from London where he worked as a director with CBRE.

Architecture and design firm Architectus has new talent in its transport sector design team. Mena Kubba has joined as a senior associate in Melbourne and is working on the Suburban Rail Loop project, Victoria’s largest ever rail project. She previously held senior roles at Hassell and is a current 500 Women in Property participant. Principal Andrew Shields has been appointed to lead the Suburban Rail Loop project. He relocates from Architectus’ Sydney studio.

Finally, several property leaders have been acknowledged in the Australia Day honours. Sam Mostyn received an AO for “distinguished service to business and sustainability, and to the community, through seminal contributions to a range of organisations, and to women”. Mostyn is currently a non-executive director of Mirvac and Transurban. As a board member of Climateworks Australia for a decade, Mostyn was an active champion of climate action in the built environment. Dr Sally Pitkin AO, current non-executive director of Star Entertainment, was applauded for “distinguished service to business, to corporate governance standards and performance, to the arts, and to the advancement of women”. Michael Buxton AM, cofounder of Becton Property Group and MAB Corporation, was recognised for his “significant service to the visual arts, and to the property development sector”. Radmila Desic AM, a former national director of NAWIC, was acknowledged for her service to women in the construction industry, and to unemployed youth. Hank Laan AM was the inaugural chief executive and director of the Darling Harbour Authority in 1984-85 and went on to become a leader in commercial dispute resolution in the construction industry. Dr Ronald Webber AM is a former chapter president of the Australian Institute of Building. An associate professor with the Central Queensland University, Webber’s most recent work has investigated complex construction management for higher urban density and sustainable development. Richard Chadwick OAM has been the chairman and managing director of the Chadwick Group, Australia’s largest sheet metal roofing contractor, since 1963. Geoffrey Jochelson OAM was the instigator of security of payment laws in New South Wales. And Lendlease’s Jeremy Mansfield OAM was recognised for his service to the building and construction industry. Mansfield has spent the last 24 years of his career with Lendlease, most recently as national sustainability operations manager. He has been deeply involved with the Green Building Council of Australia for many years, and was the driving force behind the Sunshine Coast University Hospital’s world-leading sustainability credentials, which saw the hospital earn a 6 Star Green Star rating in 2018.