Q&A NREI spoke recently with Bruce Mosler, Cushman & Wakefield's new president of U.S. operations, about his goals and where he thinks technology will take the privately owned company. Mosler was named to the newly created position in September. His responsibilities include leading the strategic direction, business growth and development and profitability for Cushman & Wakefield's U.S. offices.
NREI: What do you envision for the future of Cushman & Wakefield? What would you like to accomplish in your new role as president of U.S. operations?
Mosler: There are three things that I am focused on in my new position. First is developing a national strategy that supports our core businesses today. We are very strong in the office market sector, but we are looking for opportunities in a much more strategic fashion, and I want to shore up certain areas in that sector, particularly in the West and Midwest. Second, what I'm looking to do from a national perspective is develop additional industrial strengths by dedicating more core resources to that sector. Also, one of my initiatives on a national basis is to increase the retail business. We manage and lease more than 225 million sq. ft. of office space in the country, and I'm looking to leverage off those relationships to develop a core retail business in the sub-cities.
NREI: Does Cushman & Wakefield have any long-term goals to become a publicly traded company?
Mosler: It's not our intention to look at the public markets as a vehicle to grow our company. We like the position we are in. It gives us a distinct, competitive advantage because we do not have to respond to analysts who would evaluate our performance on a quarterly basis. Quite frankly, we think we are better suited to serve our clients as a private company.
NREI: Regarding the issue of technology in the commercial real estate industry, what is Cushman & Wakefield doing to stay abreast of changing trends?
Mosler: We have one of our most significant technology initiatives with Zethus, a web-based real estate transaction platform. This will be the next total real estate portfolio from which our brokers and clients can transact different levels of real estate business. It will be the next real estate Nasdaq. By that I mean a total real estate portal where you can look for research, analysis, market information, RFPs or RFQs. We are implementing this in conjunction with Zethus and Goldman Sachs & Co.
We believe it's not good to spend money unwisely toward technology. Our competitors are spending a significant amount of dollars upfront in trying to develop their real estate portal or platform. It is our concept to use our intellectual capital in concert with Goldman Sachs and Zethus, to reach our end game.
We're not saying that our vehicle is any better, but we are approaching it differently. We do expect our portal, like others, to go through a number of issues before it becomes a functional system. I think that we'll be able to roll out our technology platform next year. In the interim, we're rolling out some proprietary platforms the latter part of this year or early next year.
NREI: What goals do you have for Cushman & Wakefield's annual transactions in terms of both volume and dollar amounts?
Mosler: My objectives are not to grow Cushman & Wakefield's volume of transactions. My goals are to run a more efficient, bigger organization. As a result, our clients will be the beneficiaries. In the course of running the company, I would like to see us cross the $1 billion mark, as long as we are running a better, more efficient business for our clients.
NREI: What do you think makes Cushman & Wakefield unique compared with other real estate service companies?
Mosler: We believe we are the premier global real estate provider for several reasons. First, we have a top-notch platform for the cadre of services we offer, whether it's consulting, asset management, transactional business, core leasing or corporate services. Second, our engagement team determines which individuals pursue the business because it's our firm's stated policy and goal to field the best team possible, which means we always put the most qualified people with the strongest track records in front of our prospective clients.
I believe we have a distinct advantage as a privately owned company. We are not obligated to our shareholders, we don't manage to their expectations. We manage with the long-term view toward the relationships we build because we are not concerned with quarterly reports. From that perspective, I believe we are uniquely different from most of our competitors. By having a global reach we provide a seamless level of services across the world.
I think we are well-positioned for the future, not just on the basis of our distribution platform, but in the way we have organized the infrastructure of the company.