Jones Lang LaSalle, based in
Chicago, is moving executives
to take advantage of CRE trends.

CHICAGO-Jones Lang LaSalle’s announcement that Peter Roberts is taking on the role of Chief Strategy Officer while Lauralee Martin steps into his former role as CEO, Americas is an activity geared toward taking advantage of what’s going on in the greater commercial real estate market.  As such, Martin and Roberts tell that the executive shifts are happening (effective Jan. 1) so Jones Lang LaSalle can take advantage of opportunities on behalf of clients; opportunities not just in the United States, but worldwide as well.

JLL’s Americas region encompasses Canada through South America.  According to Martin, who will move from the position of COO and CFO to her new job, the Americas region is JLL’s largest in terms of revenue and profits. “We’ve been in Mexico for a long time and service lots of our multifamily clients in South America,” she comments. “We have a robust market in places like Brazil; we see them as locations for opportunity.” Though Canada is a smaller market, “we’ve been adding to our footprint there,” Martin explains, adding that the country is important to the JLL clients.

And, according to Roberts, who is moving from the position of CEO, Americas to the newly created Chief Strategy Officer job, Canada is continuing a trend started years ago, namely the institutional control and ownership of class A product. But what is changing, he notes, is that Canadian institutional investors are looking outside of Canada in “ever-increasing numbers and velocity.”

Meanwhile, south of the border, “the real change in Latin American real estate is the growth of the Latin American continent,” Roberts explains. “There are developments of major cities within that region and they’re continuing to play a growing role on the global stage. What you’re seeing is more resources devoted to growth markets in Latin America. More resources means more growth, and growth across all asset classes.” As such, real estate investment and new real estate stock and focus will continue in this region, he adds.

Then there is the United States. “Real estate is still a local business,” Martin observes. “You have great markets like San Francisco, thanks to the technology boom there, but other areas where you have a little more restructuring taking place. We’re helping our clients deal with all of that.”

An outgrowth of what’s been happening in commercial real estate, especially in the United States, is that more companies, especially multinational companies, are outsourcing CRE activities to firms such as Jones Lang LaSalle. Roberts says this particular trend has been happening for awhile and, as such “we’ve been working on positioning our firm to take advantage of it.”

Hence the development of the Chief Strategy Officer, a position that, according to Roberts, will help align Jones Lang LaSalle’s growth strategy with opportunities in the marketplace. The goal here is to ensure those opportunities are met in a coordinated fashion, which will be part of Roberts’ job. And hence the move for Martin to a new leadership position, which is coming during an interesting time in commercial real estate. Martin says the JLL management rotates positions regularly to keep things fresh and to keep the executives challenged and, as she puts it “at the top of our game.”

“We’ve seen incredible growth in the Americas since coming back from the financial crisis,” she adds. “In the face of that growth, we’ve been helping clients reposition their portfolio and better optimize their use.”