Seeking bigger slices of UK's regional cakes

PHIL Reid has divested himself of a lot of his administrative activities at CBRE but that is not a signal he is slowing down - far from it.

He has been elevated to the new role of co-ordinating the growth of the office and industrial agency business throughout the UK except London, while heading, from Glasgow, a Scottish team of ten specialist agency surveyors.

That makes him part of the top UK team charged with developing the business while, as he puts it, still earning his corn in his backyard.

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He's been earning that corn for a wee while, cutting his teeth with the Glasgow District Council Estates Department and the Grampian Regional Council Department after graduating in 1981 from Paisley College of Technology with a degree in land economics.

He was head of agency at FG Burnet 1984-87 and from 1987 he was with Watson Neave and Chesterton. He joined Jones Lang Wootton in 1991, being one of the partners who saw through the merger of Jones Lang Wootton and LaSalle Partners in 1999.

In 2001 he joined CB Hillier Parker as senior director, agency Glasgow, then another merger came along - the New York-based Insignia Financial Group, the parent of Insignia Richard Ellis, and the Los Angeles-based CB Richard Ellis Services, the parent of CB Hillier Parker, merged to form CBRE, creating the world's biggest property firm.

That put him in the role of managing director, Scotland, and agency director for CBRE, and he has increasingly been involved in providing strategic development advice, and co-ordinating the CBRE input on various office, business park and mixed uses. He has been active in the Glasgow office market for nearly 20 years, advising owners, occupiers and developers.

With his new UK-wide responsibility will come a bit of travelling. He will be beefing up regional activity, spotting business opportunities and making the best use of the regional network.

He reckons he can do a lot of it by e-mail and with phone calls so he will not be arriving in far-flung English offices banging on desks and demanding action.

He says: "You have to be diplomatic and firm. It is not a question of waving the flag and blowing the trumpet but we have done our time and know what we are about. It will be a mixture of diplomacy and cajoling and some firm business decisions might have to be taken.

"Our regional business has expanded phenomenally in recent years but they are still a big growth area. We have looked at the regional network and are putting in different people with specialisms.

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"We are by far the biggest in the UK but there are certain parts of the country where we should be getting a bigger slice of the cake."

Reid, 46, says the firm is always looking for good staff. He says there are always discussions at CBRE about acquisitions but at the moment there are no immediate plans. He believes that there is enough potential in the regional network.

With his wife, Ann, he has three children who are competitive swimmers. A former rugby player, he still plays a bit of golf and tennis and describes himself as "a bit of a sports nut".

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