Interview: C&W’s Brett White

Interview: C&W’s Brett White

7 May 2016 – by Damian Wild

It is 12 months since Brett White announced the merger of DTZ and Cushman & Wakefield, a blockbuster deal that has put the combined business’s every move in the spotlight.

Interview: C&W’s Brett White

He has been relatively quiet since, preferring deed to word. Now, though, Cushmans is firmly established as a top-three global real estate adviser, able to brandish the sort of telephone-number credentials that the very biggest companies on the planet revel in: 43,000 employees, 250 offices, 60 countries and so on. And White is ready to shout – and surprise.

At the time of the deal there was an assumption that top three would never be enough for White. It was an irresistible narrative: the former CBRE chief executive would lead his new firm past his old one. It hasn’t happened yet and, he says emphatically, it won’t.

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“I think CBRE will forever, at least in my career, be the largest firm,” he says. “I think that’s now unassailable, particularly given their
focus now on facility management, facility services businesses, which are big revenue and low margin. So that ship has sailed. I think that’s great, actually, for us because we are going to focus a little bit differently. And I think that whether we are two or three – my guess is that’s going to bounce around a lot – we like that position.”

That position is an interesting one. Despite being the newest Goliath on the block, White – and his chief lieutenant for Europe, John Forrester – is keen to hang on to its upstart, disruptor status. “We like being the underdog even though we are really not any more,” he says.

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Interview: C&W’s Brett White

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