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It’s been a year of high-level change for the major international players. The most recent comes in the person of Colin Dyer, an outsider to the industry who last month assumed the helm of Jones Lang LaSalle. In fact, while Dyer–who on August 30 became the firm’s president and CEO–has no industry experience, he does boast a healthy international corporate-services history. He was the founding CEO of an internet procurement-services provider and before that headed an international textile firm. So how will that varied background help propel JLL into the future? On just his second day in office, Dyer sat down for an exclusive interview with GlobeSt.com to discuss the agenda he sees as well as some of the challenges and benefits of coming to such a high-visibility job from such a distance.

GlobeSt.com: What’s the biggest challenge of coming from the outside?

Dyer: Clearly, the biggest and most immediate challenge is to find out as much as I can about the industry as a whole and Jones Lang LaSalle in particular. To that end I’m spending the first two and half weeks or so in discussion with colleagues both here in Chicago and in Europe and eventually in Asia Pacific, just getting as much information as I can from them about the company, the way we do business and the market as a whole. I’ve had experience moving within companies and industries, and I know how to make such transitions. I know it can take a couple of months, so I am going about this in a very measured and calm way. Having been there before, I am not particularly concerned about the process.

GlobeSt.com: What are the biggest benefits you bring?

Dyer: I’ve heard the board at Jones Lang LaSalle comment that I bring a fresh perspective. I’m not completely imbued with the way the industry has traditionally worked. Real estate is no different than other industries in that there are constant changes in the way business is being done, and those changes are accelerating. Many of the things that are happening in other industries—such as the focus on global client management as opposed to local transactions—are happening in this industry as well. So bringing an outside perspective will be a benefit to this company. I’ve also worked in the international environment for almost all of my working life. I am a European who has lived and worked in several European countries, but I have also spent the past four years in the US with US corporate customers. That is a solid base of international experience.

GlobeSt.com: Is your background the source of any skepticism?

Dyer: Within the organization there is a great deal of confidence and respect for the board, and particularly for Stuart Scott, the chairman. If the board made the decision to choose an outsider, that gives me a degree of credibility. Beyond that, I don’t lie awake at night worrying if people find me credible or not. I get into my job and do it the best way that I know how. I’m perfectly confident that within a short period of time mutual respect will be established. For me it has already happened. These people are admirable. I see a very fruitful relationship.

GlobeSt.com: How long will the introductory meetings go on, and what are your long-range priorities?

Dyer: The first three and half months are fairly well-programmed in terms of which countries and towns I will be visiting. There are three important constituencies to get to know and to listen to: first is the internal group, which can teach me most clearly about the way the business operates. The second group is the international clients. As I learn more about the company I will be able to build an understanding of their needs. The third group is the investors.

GlobeSt.com: To what extent are these sessions about you listening and to what extent are the employees listening to you?

Dyer: I’m asking a lot of questions, some of which I hope are provocative, but I’m certainly not presumptuous enough to project how people within the organization should go about their business.

GlobeSt.com: How much chance have you had to scope out the competition?

Dyer: I know the names. But it’s too early for me to comment on their organizations.

GlobeSt.com: Any plans for managerial changes?

Dyer: Again, it’s too early to comment. I’ve found good people with excellent relationships. It’s not a burning issue.

GlobeSt.com: Long-term, what’s your agenda for JLL?

Dyer: We’ve got a couple of areas of business that clearly offer growth potential at this stage. One is our investment management organization–where we are handling $23 billion of funds under management. That organization is growing very nicely. It’s a solid business with a strong international team, and that’s been a priority for us, as has our corporate-solutions business, which started in the Americas and is now growing globally too. So ensuring that we have no impediments to the growth of those two areas is an important priority for me. The third thing I’ve isolated is to continue the process of enhancing our global platform–to operate to the same standards, methods and skills internationally to build a truly seamless organization.

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