EG marked a return to MIPIM with a two-day programme for 2022 packed full of discussions and debates around some of the key issues facing the UK real estate market post pandemic.

With a focus on being on the right side of progress experts, industry heavyweights and city leaders took to the stage to cover topics from what’s next for the UK life sciences sector, how to attract and keep big brands in urban hubs, the future of the office and ESG as a value driver.

Conversations wove their way around the challenges facing the UK after a difficult and unprecedented two years and the opportunities ahead as investor demands look set to drive activity in key growth areas.

A welcome message off the back of a welcome return to MIPIM after a three-year hiatus.

2022 Speakers

Barry McKeown, partner and head of office, Shoosmiths

McKeown heads up Shoosmiths’ Glasgow office and is a real estate lawyer known for his proactivity in project-managing multi-disciplinary deals on behalf of his clients. He has broad expertise in all areas of real estate across the UK, with a particular focus on the commercial development and investment markets, residential development and housebuilding, as well as renewable energy. He has led on many high-profile BTR deals over the past few years, including a REIT listing, which have delivered several thousand housing units across the UK. McKeown also has a particular specialism in Sharia’h-compliant deal structuring and lending acting for a number of UHNW Middle East investors and family offices investing in UK property.

Alexandra Notay, placemaking & investment director, PfP Capital

Notay is placemaking & investment director at PfP Capital, the fund and asset management arm of Places for People Group, overseeing a UK-wide residential strategy. She is an internationally recognised expert on build-to-rent, placemaking and sustainable urban development, with 17 years’ strategic advisory and investment experience to private sector, government and third-sector organisations across four continents. In January 2019, Notay was selected as one of the 48 women shaping the future of UK real estate at the BISNOW Women Leaders event. She is a published author and editor of more than 30 books and reports on real estate, including the ULI UK Best Practice Guide on Build to Rent (2014, 2016). Notay is vice-chair of the ULI UK Residential Council, chair of the BPF working group on residential ESG, serves on BPF’s build-to-rent committee, AREF’s ESG/impact investing committee and is a member of CREFC Europe. She is also a non-executive director of Essensys, co-chair of the Creative Land Trust, commissioner on the UK Geospatial Commission, South West board member for LandAid and trustee of the SunScreenIT Foundation. With a reputation for being “abnormally energetic”, Notay is passionate about enabling social impact through innovation and collaboration as well as mentoring the next generation of diverse talent.

Katrina Kostic Samen, head of workplace strategy & design, KKS Savills

For those who know Kostic Samen, her commitment and passion in focusing on the best interests of the occupier, their business and solving problems will be familiar. Her experience over three decades of commercial development and workplace design enables her to provide expertise across all aspects of architecture and interior design projects. She challenges boundaries and perceptions, connects “inside-out” design philosophies, and combines strategy and design to maximise real estate potential for both occupiers and developers. Kostic Samen’s belief in pushing boundaries, striving for excellence, supporting diversity and our next generation in the commercial real estate industry is represented in her fundamental principle: be creative, add value, have fun.

Ken Poole, FRICS, head of economic development, Cardiff Council

Poole is responsible for the implementation of Cardiff Council’s economic strategy. He has worked with many of the city’s leading financial and professional services and fintech businesses in setting up and expanding in the city, and on key regeneration initiatives for the council. Poole also manages Cardiff Council’s portfolio of incubation and start-up space and property loan funds. The co-ordination of the council’s UK and overseas business marketing initiatives to promote the city is also a key part of his portfolio. He is also responsible for forging closer links between education and business in the city, under the Cardiff Commitment initiative. Poole works with regional and national partners, including the UK government, Welsh government the Cardiff Capital Region and business organisations. He is a director of the Compound Semiconductor Foundry, the vehicle for investing City Deal funds into the compound semiconductor initiative, and FOR Cardiff, the BID for the city centre. Prior to joining Cardiff Council, Poole was a UK director at PwC, where he was responsible for advising clients on business locations throughout the UK and Europe and advising city and regional promotion agencies on strategies to attract foreign direct investment.

Stephanie Crombie, architect, ARB, RIBA, PH designer, Morrow + Lorraine

Crombie is an associate and head of sustainability at London-based, retro-fit specialist, Morrow + Lorraine Architects. Her work focuses on establishing and implementing regenerative design principles and promoting nature-based solutions in the built environment. She is a certified Passivhaus designer and a co-ordinator of the ACAN Natural Materials working group.

Melanie Williams, head of global real estate sector, DWF

Williams has more than 20 years’ experience of working on the investment and funding of real estate development projects. She also leads the firm’s hospitality sector group and has particular expertise in the acquisition of hotels, development and refurbishment projects and real estate finance. She has a wealth of experience in handling asset management work for investors, developers and banks, as well as dealing with landlord and tenant matters. Williams sits on the board of directors of the Colmore Business District BID, working with business and community leaders to encourage investment in projects and services which improve the Birmingham business environment. Williams also sits on the board of directors for Citysave Credit Union.

Christopher Mertlitz, head of European investments, W P Carey

Mertlitz joined W P Carey’s European investments team in 2011 and was appointed managing director and head of European investments in 2021. Prior to joining the firm, Merlitz worked in various industry sectors, including engineering, energy and information technology in Austria and Germany. Since joining W P Carey, he has been directly involved in the structuring and closing of approximately €1.8bn in sale-and-leaseback, net lease and build-to-suit investments across Europe, especially in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and the UK. He has extensive experience acquiring industrial and specialised retail assets, and particular expertise in financial modelling and complex credit underwriting. Merlitz graduated from Oxford University with an M.Eng. in Engineering, Economics and Management.

Jessica Bowles, director of strategy, Bruntwood

Bowles joined Bruntwood in 2016, helping to support the company’s ambitions for long-term growth, in particular in creating new innovation districts and creating the greatest positive impact in our cities and communities. She focuses on the business’s external relationships, opportunities for partnering to create thriving cities and Bruntwood’s ESG agenda. Previously, Bowles spent 15 years in Whitehall, before moving to Manchester City Council as head of city policy, where she supported work on devolution, the Northern Powerhouse and leading the development of the 10-year Our Manchester strategy, which was developed with partners from across Manchester. Bowles is also a member of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership ExCo, Chris Boardman’s Cycling and Walking Board and is a trustee for a start-up orchestra Manchester Baroque.

Michael Beaven, director, global automation leader, Arup

Michael’s specialism is in engineering leadership for projects and in digital automation applied to total design, and Arup’s Global Automation Leader and part of the firm’s global Digital Executive. Michael continue to work with clients in both strategy and delivery of projects, with long term relationships with a number of Arup’s most important clients. Michael worked in the UK, Europe, USA, Japan and Australia with many of the world’s leading architects. For more than ten years, Michael have been leading and growing successful multi-disciplinary and integrated design groups within Arup. His design leadership has delivered numerous world firsts and awards for pioneering and innovative designs across many building types and scales. Developing interest in computation and digital, Michael’s applying design and construction knowledge to applied automation in the continued pursuit and improvement of sustainable solutions. His interest in the human experience with the built environment has resulted in a number of publications on intelligent buildings and the engineering of projects focusing on people. His leadership in digital has resulted in the accelerated development of global BIM and data standards outside the firm and the creation of Arup’s automation tools including our Global Revit Standard.

James Lowery, chief executive, UK and Europe, essensys

Lowery is chief executive of UK and Europe for essensys. Prior to essensys, he co-founded and scaled British Land’s flexible workspace business, Storey. Growing a fully integrated flexible workspace business from within a leading UK property company has given Lowery a deep understanding of evolving customers’ needs, and the critical role that technology plays in meeting them.

James Sheppard, managing director, UK and Ireland, Kadans Science Partner

Sheppard is managing director for the UK & Ireland at Kadans Science Partner, where he is responsible for growing the UK platform. He joined Kadans from Cushman & Wakefield, where he was head of life sciences. Sheppard brings significant life science experience to Kadans, having worked on some of Europe’s largest and most advanced centres for scientific innovation such as The Francis Crick Institute and Imperial College’s White City Campus. He has supported many organisations, both public and private, in the development of their science and innovation strategies and will bring this extensive knowledge to Kadans to deliver new projects and support Kadans’ growing tenant base.

Philip Graham, executive director, good growth, Greater London Authority

Graham was appointed as executive director, good growth and joined the GLA in January 2020. He joined the GLA from the National Infrastructure Commission, where he was chief executive. Prior to that he was head of the Independent Airports Commission after holding two deputy director roles in the Department for Transport – responsible in one for the government’s high-speed rail strategy and in the other for transport security (including work on the Olympics) and research. Graham had several team leader roles in the civil service before that.

Hala El Akl, senior director, ESG & operations, Oxford Properties Group

El Akl is Oxford’s senior director of ESG and operations, overseeing the global ESG program, working collaboratively across functions such as asset management, operations, development, finance and investment risk to create a holistic ESG strategy. Prior to Oxford, she was a director at PLP Architecture and founding director of PLP Labs. As an architect and urbanist, El Akl led the team to deliver highly sustainable and innovative commercial, life science, residential, retail and mixed-use projects across the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. At PLP Labs, she explored new ideas for future cities, with a focus on environmental and social sustainability. She is a global governing trustee of the Urban Land Institute and sits on the Cambridge University Land Economy board. She received her MSc in Urban Policy from the London School of Economics, a Masters in territorial and urban strategies from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences-Po), and a Bachelor of Architecture and a Bachelor of Social Sciences from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon.

Gareth Atkinson, director, Civic Engineers

Atkinson is an engineer and urbanist directing Civic Engineers’ London studio. He leads on civil and structural engineering for projects ranging from the sustainable retrofit and extension of existing buildings to large-scale regeneration and public realm improvement schemes. He is also part of the Club Peloton contingent that is cycling from London to MIPIM.

Tony Reeves, chief executive, Liverpool City Council

Reeves is chief executive of Liverpool City Council. He was chief executive of Bradford Council from September 2006 to November 2014 and, prior to that, was deputy chief executive of Wakefield City Council from March 2003 to September 2006. In 2014, Reeves joined Deloitte as local government advisory partner supporting local government in areas of strategy and policy, transformation, reorganisation, health and social care integration, regeneration, economic development and housing. In October 2017, he was engaged to work with Liverpool City Council providing strategic support and advice around the implementation of the mayor’s Inclusive Growth Plan, development and implementation of a transformation programme for the council, performance and programme management systems and the development and implementation of directorate delivery/business plans.  In July 2018, Liverpool City Council appointed Reeves as chief executive. He has worked with the key partners in the city to develop the City Plan, a collaborative approach to the delivery of public services and transform outcomes for the people of the city.

Rachel Campbell, deputy director, regeneration & urban policy, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

Campbell is deputy director for regeneration & urban policy in the cities and local growth unit, which sits between DLUHC and BEIS. Her portfolio covers high streets and town centres policy, commercial real estate and investment, freeports, off-street parking and wider issues around financing regeneration schemes. She has previously worked on the design of the Future High Streets and Towns Funds, and prior to joining the civil service in 2018, worked for a trade body for commercial development focusing on regional growth.

Neil Gemassmer, vice-president international, Yardi

Vice-president of international for Yardi, and a man who wears multiple “hats”, Gemassmer is responsible for managing operations across Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East. Having lived and worked in multiple international locations, he has an undying passion for innovation, technology, real estate and the human spirit.

Kaite Whipp, head of UK business, Deepki

Whipp is head of Deepki’s UK business. Deepki is an end-to-end ESG provider whose mission is to accelerate the environmental transition of the built environment sector. Established in Paris, Deepki is leading the way across more than 38 countries when it comes to data collection, but also the onward journey of identifying transitional interventions, measuring impact, engaging stakeholders and reporting real-time and forecast progression against carbon pathways. At Deepki, Whipp is responsible for the entire UK business. Her current focus is on establishing and scaling the growth of the company’s UK footprint, having launched operations in London earlier last year. She is also an active member of Deepki’s leadership team, holding a variety of global responsibilities, which stem from her proven track record in strategic operational excellence and the delivery of exceptional customer solutions. Her career has spanned the international real estate space for more than 12 years, most recently at CBRE and Cluttons, where she was head of their CRM programmes. She is an advocate for women and other underrepresented groups in real estate and tech, as well as the positioning of the built environment as a force for good in the world. 

Bradley Baker, chief executive, BSc MRICS FRCGP, CO-RE

Baker has worked in the central London office market for more than 30 years. He specialises in London occupiers and how their design requirements are reflected in CO-RE’s developments. He is also responsible for scheme branding and leasing. He was made an equity partner at Knight Frank in 1999 and founded and headed the central London tenant representation team. He has an intimate knowledge of what occupiers need, having advised major organisations on some of London’s largest office deals, including Estée Lauder’s HQ at 1 Fitzroy Place, Swiss Re’s acquisition of The Gherkin, Guardian Media Group’s headquarters at King’s Cross and M&G’s offices at 10 Fenchurch Avenue.

Rebecca Taylor, managing director, BTR & multi-family business, Long Harbour

Since joining Long Harbour in 2015, Taylor has deployed more than £750m of equity and leads on the LHMF JV, a £1.5bn partnership with PSP and Cadillac Fairview. She has more than 15 years’ experience in development and investment, having worked in projects in Australia, the UK, Ireland and the UAE. Prior to joining Long Harbour, Taylor spent eight years at Laing O’Rourke working in the property and investment team on the off-site housing solution and a number of PFI/PPP deals. She is the vice-chair of the BPF BTR committee, is on the steering group for the UKAA Best Practice Guide and a member of the ULI UK Residential Council.

Nick Penny, director, UK investment & head of Scotland, Savills

Penny helped set up the Savills commercial office in Edinburgh in 1997 and was appointed to the position of head of Scotland in 2016. He oversees the commercial, rural and residential divisions in the region, comprising more than 300 staff in seven offices. He specialises in commercial investment and development, offering advice and services ranging from single asset disposals and acquisitions to portfolio deals. In addition, Penny advised on forward-funding and forward commitment opportunities across all sectors to a number of clients including institutions, administrators, banks, property companies and private investors.

Gail Mayhew, managing director, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole FuturePlaces

A placemaking specialist with 30 years’ experience, Mayhew is responsible for implementing FuturePlaces’ vision to create innovative and sustainable places across BCP. Throughout her career she has been a champion for stewardship and design quality, particularly through her involvement in the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission and Quality of Life Commission. As co-founder of The Stewardship Initiative and Smart Growth Associates, Mayhew is an authority on developing and safeguarding beautiful places through long-term investment, which in turn maximises long-term value. Her approach is informed by a wealth of research across sustainable, mixed-use urban regeneration – published and upcoming reports include investigations into the impact of mixed-use in creating healthy communities and the role of high streets in placemaking and supporting sustainable urban footprints.

Sarah Green, chief executive, NewcastleGateshead Initiative

Green joined NewcastleGateshead Initiative as chief executive in 2019. NGI is a destination and inward investment agency that delivers for Newcastle, Gateshead and the wider region. It is integral to delivering the region’s sustainable and inclusive ambitions, creating a world-class distinctive city to live, enjoy, stay and invest. Green has more than 20 years of economic development experience, including as CBI director, regions and nations. She qualified as a lawyer with Clifford Chance working in London, Hong Kong and Shanghai and has a MSc in urban regeneration, an MBA and is currently completing a PhD scholarship at Durham University. Green also holds non-executive roles with Ryder Architecture, National Trust, Newcastle University and TWAM, and is chair of Bank of England’s North East Citizen Panel.  

Richard Sterling, national head of land & development, Willmott Dixon

As Willmott Dixon’s national head of land & development, Sterling leads a team that works with local authorities and developers to accelerate their plans for large scale town-centre regeneration. He is currently working with councils including Bristol, Rotherham and Telford & Wrekin to realise their plans for transformational change on the high street. Sterling has been with Willmott Dixon for more than eight years and in that time has grown the company’s development expertise by assembling a team of specialists that provides the capacity to accelerate regeneration over the full development lifecycle, from initial land identification and asset review through to business plan development, commercial modelling and on-site delivery (including lettings/sales and marketing).

Ozlem Gokce, manging partner, Gorvus Invest

Gokce has more than 20 years’ experience in the real estate industry. She has held chief executive and board-level positions at several development companies in Turkey, the UK and the EU. She is currently the managing partner at Corvus Invest, a UK-based real estate investment and development advisory company. Gokce has been a spokesperson for the real estate industry and for women’s representation in business. Her governance experience includes serving for several NGOs at board-level positions. She is an architect with a Master’s Degree, studied finance at Bogazici University and completed a program in real estate economics and finance at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences.

Cees van der Spek, public affairs & global corporate relations director, EDGE

Van der Spek has a long history in the real estate and building industry and is currently working for EDGE, a leading real estate tech company from The Netherlands and rapidly growing in Europe and the US. After a long career abroad when working in the international construction industry, he became an expert in design, architecture and sustainability. Van der Spek joined OVG Real Estate 10 years ago to be the head of the sustainability centre. His first project was the first LEED Platinum TNT HQ and the first sustainable lab/office/factory, the Danone Innovation Center, both initiated by his team. The Edge office building in Amsterdam is the best example of smart and sustainable development and has become a blueprint of the future of working. BREEAM has called it the most sustainable office building in the world. Today, van der Spek is one of the initiators of EDGE, a tech scale-up of OVG. With future EDGE buildings in Berlin, Amsterdam and the US, this seems to be the answer to disruption in the global real estate market. Van der Spek is member of Dutch Architecture Circle, founder of the Archiprix International, member of CoreNet Global, Dutch Green Building Council and the Sustainability Council of the Urban Land Institute. He is active in the Future of Construction group of World Economic Forum and has given lectures at the Technical University in Delft, University of London and University of Brussels.

Olaide Oboh, director, Socius

Oboh leads on external relationships, establishing and nurturing partnerships with key local, business, investor and stakeholder contacts as well as growing the company’s pipeline in new and existing locations across the country. She is currently delivering an arts and culture hub in Bristol to grow and support the local economy, working with partners to lobby for more academic infrastructure into Milton Keynes and supporting the managing director with the strategic direction of the business.

Ben Sanderson, managing director, real estate, Aviva Investors

Sanderson joined Aviva Investors in January 2022 with responsibility for the direct real estate business. He has more than 20 years’ experience in UK, continental Europe and global real estate investment. He joined Aviva Investors after 13 years at Federated Hermes, most recently holding the role of executive director, fund management, with responsibility for global real estate, UK residential and real estate debt investment programmes, as well as overseeing ESG strategy. Prior to Federated Hermes, Sanderson was at M&G Real Estate for almost six years, where he held the positions of fund manager for the Global Real Estate Securities Fund and head of global strategy and view formation for private real estate investments. He is the current chair of the UK Investment Property Forum.

Pui-Guan Man, news editor, EG

As EG’s news editor, Man oversees the news and analysis output for the website and magazine, working closely with its dynamic and talented team of reporters. An award-winning journalist, she was recognised as one of PPA’s 30 Under 30 for her work at EG in 2020 and was shortlisted for a BSME Talent award last year.

Samantha McClary, editor, EG

McClary has almost 20 years’ experience in real estate and business journalism, covering a wide range of topics. Alongside making sure EG delivers the best, most helpful, most accurate and, of course, most interesting content to EG’s readership across all platforms – print, online and audio – she also plays a leading role in enabling and delivering a more diverse environment for the real estate community through EG’s REWIRE and tech initiatives. A keen chair and regular wearer of too bright trousers, McClary seeks to help keep panel discussions and events lively with audience participation and insightful questioning.

David Salisbury, head of sales, EG

As head of sales for EG, Salisbury oversees the entire commercial operation within the business, from our market-leading data to high-quality lead generation and first-class events. Having worked in the business for more than 11 years and the B2B sphere for 13, he has an excellent understanding of where our customers can gain value from our vast portfolio of products and services.

Emily Wright, head of content, EG

Wright is head of content at EG, specialising in domestic and global real estate investment, the tech and start-up sectors, ESG, cities and the future of property design and development around the world. She has secured interviews with some of the biggest names in the industry and politics, including Sidewalk Labs founder Dan Doctoroff, Facebook’s global head of real estate, the co-founder of Tesla, architect Zaha Hadid and designer Sir Terence Conran. She is the host of EG’s long-running Tech Talk Radio podcast and is a passionate advocate for change and progress within the real estate sector.  

Damian Wild, director of market development, EG

Wild has been with EG since 2009 as editor, editor in chief and publisher. Director of market development since January 2021, he is now focused on EG’s strategy and ensuring its products and services meet the needs of the real estate market. He continues to host the Future of Real Estate podcast and is a regular contributor to industry events.

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