Todd Lauchlan, Managing Director of JLL New Zealand, will be drawing on over 23 years as a property professional, including over 18 years working internationally, to head JLL during its Year of Transformation.

Before taking up his role in July last year, Lauchlan was Country Head for Indonesia for eight years, during which JLL's Indonesian business grew over 800 per cent with staff numbers climbing from 75 to more than 600. Lauchlan says his approach was to focus on the core strengths offered in the Indonesian market while simultaneously leveraging off JLL's much wider expertise across Asia Pacific. He says he intends to replicate this approach in New Zealand.

"During this Year of Transformation and from now on, we will be leveraging the global brand and technology of JLL which is 'a big machine' - having 90,000 employees across the globe and 45,000 in the Asia Pacific region, who can assist our New Zealand clients to reach global markets and opportunities. In particular we will be working more closely with our Australian counterparts, as well as tapping into the APAC region," he says. "However, it is crucially important the uniqueness of the New Zealand offer remains central to everything we do.

"To launch our Year of Transformation we are holding 'thought leadership' events in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in the next two weeks featuring top keynote speakers including: Paul Bloxham, Chief Economist, HSBC; Michael Holloway, GM Property Investment, Kiwi Property; Leonie Freeman, Property Council CEO; and Jordan Kostelac, Director, PropTech, JLL APAC. Major subjects to be covered are: New Zealand Commercial Real Estate, The Economy Commercial Property Overview and The Future of Work."

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Lauchlan says he's made several key hires to help transform JLL's operation here including:

•Ross Bolton, Director of Capital Markets – previously Director for Advisory and Transaction Services with CBRE;

•Tina Burns, Head of Marketing and Communications – previously with Barfoot & Thompson, and Cushman & Wakefield in Singapore;

•Nilesh Patel, Head of Retail - previously retail director at Colliers International;

•David Maurice, Director, Project & Development Services – previously Associate, Client Services at office workplace designer Stack; and

•Paul Winstanley, Head of Research and Consultancy – previously partner at Allsop LLP in the UK.

Winstanley, a speaker at the 'thought leadership' events, says not only JLL, but New Zealand itself, is facing a Year of Transformation. "This is highly likely be the year when the New Zealand population goes over five million people," he says.

"More people mean more houses, more industries, more offices and the need for different forms of retail to meet the needs of a modern and growing society. Transformation therefore needs to be strategically approached and not simply allowed to happen organically."

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Winstanley believes Auckland's most recent property development cycle is nearing its conclusion as large scale projects near completion like Commercial Bay, One55 Fanshawe, the Convention Centre. "Yet we still have relatively small vacancy rates in office and industrial, so we need more developments to come through.

"With land and construction prices much higher now, the market this year can pause for breath and re-evaluate what is needed in terms of future development," he says.

"There are pros and cons to international ownership and its important Auckland and New Zealand have a clear idea of what we're looking for as a nation so we can pursue a 'win-win' with likeminded investors to deliver the transformational results to which we aspire."