Why you need a Chief Property Officer at your top table

In the C-Suite of most large organisations, you’ll typically find the roles of CEO, CFO, COO and even a CIO, CTO or CDO (Chief Information, Chief Technology or Chief Digital Officer). And, increasingly, as management disciplines become more specialised, you see areas such as HR, strategy, procurement, marketing and the like rising to the top table. I even saw an article the other day talking about appointing a CHO – a Chief Happiness Officer!

You can understand why these roles exist as they generally represent the core strategic and operational parts of the business and drive the execution of business strategy.

So why don’t we ever hear of a Chief Property Officer, Chief Investment Officer (although these do exist in some financial services businesses) or a Chief Asset Officer?

Property not at the top table

Here at TwentyTwo, we’ve worked with a diverse range of clients – public, private and multinational – across a wide range of sectors over the last 28 years. And many of these organisations have a significant dependence on ‘property’ as a key platform to operate and grow their business.

So why haven’t we ever come across a property (in all its forms) representative at the top-table (other than independent advisers like us)?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question shows-up the property industry. Property professionals have been out-smarted and out-sold by the nouveau-disciplines of technology, people, procurement and brand. These professions have more eloquently demonstrated their value in modern organisations and stepped up to play key roles in strategy execution. Property (in large organisations) has largely sat in the back corner and waited to be asked. But this doesn’t need to be the way.

Here’s why property should be part of the C-Team

In large organisations, property takes on various forms and has a multidimensional impact, as demonstrated by the following diagram.

C suite CPO Sept 2018 V3.001

This impact is further heightened where the ability to deliver services and execute core business strategy is heavily dependent on property or physical assets/infrastructure. For example:

* Large national network (offices, warehousing, manufacturing, distribution).

* Retail network (high street, mall, large format).

* Asset-intensive business (education, health, defence, research, justice).

* Infrastructure provider (water, sewage, energy).

For these reasons, property needs to be actively involved in influencing and executing business strategy. Without a Chief Property Officer or similar role within the C-team there is a missed opportunity to use property (in its various forms) as a strategic enabler.

The exact role can be tailored depending on the nature of the business. For those organisations that have a large number of office-based spaces, a Chief Workplace Officer (CWO) may be more appropriate. For others, an Infrastructure Officer is better suited. Whichever title/solution fits your organisation, the key message here is don’t miss the opportunity property can play at the top table!


Dean Croucher

Managing Director

Thought-leader, creator and collaborator. Dean leads TwentyTwo’s strategic business initiatives, continuously driving our innovation and…
28 February 2024

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