Big Changes Continue at GVA

GVA Worldwide, which has undergone some major changes of late, including the buyout of a majority stake in its New York-based subsidiary and the retirement of its CEO in October, has made another move with the addition of a new president & CEO focused on North America and another for Asia and Europe. Richard Kimball (pictured) has joined the organization in the newly-created position of president & CEO – North America. In the role, Kimball will be responsible for leading business development efforts and key brokerage activities in support of GVA’s firms in the United States and Canada. He will also drive new market growth and expansion throughout the region. The newly position marks the first time GVA Worldwide will provide exclusive leadership for a particular demographic region. Kimball’s appointment comes on the heels of the departure of former GVA Worldwide head Michael Corbett, who retired several months ago as CEO & president of the global firm, a development which led to the re-formatting of the company’s leadership structure under a more region-specific strategy, according to Richard Pogue, GVA Worldwide board member, as well as president & CEO of Washington, D.C.-based GVA Advantis. “[Corbett’s retirement] gave us a chance to reform GVA and form the GVA Europe and Asia portion and GVA North America, Pogue told CPN. “That allowed us to bring Rick on to handle North America.” Additionally, the company has named Mark Bateman in London as Kimball’s counterpart for Europe and Asia. “We’re not segmenting, basically, but taking advantage of the situation to give a stronger focus on the commonality of North America,” Kimball said. “I don’t look at it as a way to break down division, but more working seamlessly globally. If you look at our competitors, they too, are broken up into two or three regions. This allows us to focus our energy better.” In October, FirstService Corp. completed its purchase of a 65 percent interest in New York-based GVA Williams Real Estate, with senior management retaining the balance of equity. “We need to build up New York and we had no partner there; [the acquisition] was part of the catalyst of my coming on board,” Kimball said. “Williams in New York sought to take an active role in representing the North American markets. Combined with Corbett retiring at the same time, it created a void and an opportunity.”Kimball promises “lots of change” ahead for the company. He said the struggling economy will change the firm’s strategy some, but that the “need to take advantage of the current market in joining a larger network,” remains. “If it is a strong firm in a good market that is looking for a way to earn an extra nickel, they can take advantage of joining us,” he said. Regarding expansion, Kimball said he is looking to work on new business development, too. “We’ve said that the worst market for real estate is a stagnant one. If it is moving in either direction; that provides us with opportunities. Making our firm bigger and stronger in all our markets is the ‘09 strategy. We want to build into markets where we’re not.” Kimball comes to GVA Worldwide from NAI Global, where he served as executive vice president of brokerage operations for the Americas and was responsible for developing strategic alliances and joint business ventures with internal and external partners. Before joining NAI in 2007, he worked with Colliers International as executive vice president of business development for more than eight years. Kimball began his career in commercial real estate services in brokerage and management roles with CB Richard Ellis Inc., where he worked for 17 years in Washington, D.C., and Oakland, Calif. GVA Worldwide is an international real estate services organization serving markets in 20 countries. The organization comprises more than 3,750 real estate professionals in 95 markets worldwide. In 2007, GVA Worldwide partners collectively completed $35 billion in transactions and managed more than 165 million square feet of office, industrial, retail and specialized property.