News • 20/12/2023 • 6–min read
CEO: 2023 – It’s a wrap
I have escaped that accolade thus far, although the grey hair does mean that I am increasingly asked if I would like to sit down and talk on behalf of the sector at various industry events. Barclays asked me to speak on all things property management at their annual property services bash a few weeks ago, which is where I bumped into the last living dinosaur (dinosaurs are even older than veterans). Whilst I am sure he would not mind me referring to him by name, let’s call him Rex. I like Rex. He is a character and has an opinion on pretty much everything from his beloved hopeless football team to what constitutes a good Property Manager. His base language added something to a conversation but often made you gasp.
For around 20 years, we have chatted extensively about the world of property management.
The trouble is that Rex still believed that property management was;
- A commodity product. It’s the same wherever you go and like buying a bag of flour.
- All about price. If it’s all the same, cheap wins every time.
- Keeping Rex out of jail and chasing his tenants down the road with a pitchfork when they are unable to pay their rent.
So Rex and I as you can imagine have an interesting relationship and some lively discussions. When I talked about building on the fundamentals of excellence in our core V1.0 function (keeping Rex out of jail and tight financial controls), to deliver V2.0 to help ensure that his buildings looked and felt amazing, were pioneering when it came to welcomes, experiences and enlivenment and that his occupiers (I am sure he thought that expression was woke) loved the building they called home, he thought I was deluded. He was vaguely interested in V3.0 and my recommendation that he needed to be ahead of the game on sustainability, but when I talked about creating social value
he pretended to shoot himself. V4.0 and the tech solutions we would discuss were beyond him. He was still mourning the demise of the Nokia 3310.
Rex was the only one I knew left of a dying breed. Well, Rex is no more. Dazed and confused by the new realities Rex has gracefully retired.
After 25 years of banging on about how having property managed really well can help drive retention, income, long-term value and just inherently feel like a much better thing to do than watching it collapse in a heap, I am now declaring the end (Rex is definitely not coming out of retirement any time soon) of the the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous period.
After 25 years of battling with the dinosaurs, it finally feels like we are pushing water downhill as clients ask us to help them make buildings come alive, to help them deliver a portfolio-wide ESG strategy, to take over and run workspaces previously occupied and run by operators who are good for the money in a boom, but otherwise disappear like a dinosaur hit by a meteorite.
Dinosaurs aside, the undoubted highlight of the year was completing the transfer of ownership of MAPP into the MAPP Employee Ownership Trust. David and I were repeatedly being asked about the future of the business and our intentions and at the 25-year point it felt right to announce and complete those long-term intentions and plans.
Selling the business to anyone other than the 625 strong amazing crew we have assembled and who are as passionate as I am about reimagining the sector and delivering something special and unique was unthinkable.
Bringing in Louise to lead them and work with David and I was also a pivotal moment in what has been a pretty momentous year.
So that is it – it’s a wrap for 2023.
– Nigel Mapp –