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Working with the Presidential Team, Richard Kauntze has held the position for close to 25 successful years, guiding the BCO through transformative growth and evolution

After soon-to-be 25 years of serving as Chief Executive for the British Council for Offices, Richard Kauntze will be stepping down in summer 2025. His successor will be appointed by the BCO Presidential Team in due course.

During Mr Kauntze’s tenure, the BCO has grown in membership and become established firmly as the office sector’s source of education, guidance and discussion. Since Mr Kauntze joined as Chief Executive in 1999, membership has increased from 585 to over 4,000, spanning a range of disciplines from leading architects and developers to major office occupiers.

Mr Kauntze has also worked hard to increase the BCO’s geographical reach, expanding from its initial base in Reading to a strong national presence across regions with a London headquarters.

The BCO NextGen programme has advanced over the past decade, with 25% of the BCO’s total membership now comprising of NextGen members – members aged 35 and under – demonstrating that the BCO is shored-up for the future. Mr Kauntze was instrumental in the creation of the NextGen Committees, which provide a platform for knowledge-sharing, mentoring, networking and professional development across five regions.

The NextGen ideas competition was launched in 2017 and has evolved into the BCO NextGen Ideas Project celebrating the boldest, most innovative and creative ideas for the future workspace of the next generation. The programme aims to encourage the NextGen’s confidence, expand their network and help them advance in their career.

The BCO Awards programme has developed and expanded to recognise new priorities and innovation within the sector, such as the ESG Award introduced in 2023. A new occupier award is being developed by the BCO, to highlight the highest standards for workplaces while they are in in-use.

In collaboration with the BCO Research Committee, the Presidential Team and the BCO’s Head of Research, Mr Kauntze has steered the BCO Research programme to inform upon and investigate continually the critical challenges in the office sector. This has seen vital research published on topics ranging from sustainability, agile working, health and wellbeing to designing for neurodiversity.

Working alongside the Presidential Team, Mr Kauntze is overseeing the introduction of two new BCO Committees – the London Regional Committee and the Life Sciences Committee. Each committee is being created to respond to emerging major trends in the sector, including London’s unique position in the British office market and the growth of life sciences into a notable real estate market.  

The BCO also launched its new website last week which reflects and supports today’s office sector, with clear, user-friendly access to essential resources such as BCO guides and research. It will showcase the best in office design while providing all the latest BCO news and details of upcoming BCO events.

Richard Kauntze, Chief Executive of the BCO, said: “It will be bitter-sweet to say farewell to the BCO next summer. It has been an honour to hold the role of chief executive with the organisation for what will be 25 years this November. I will always have great fondness of the BCO and I am excited to see how it will continue to grow and progress with the excellent Presidential Team. Meanwhile, I am delighted to be launching the London Regional Committee and the Life Sciences Committee in this final year, which I believe will offer new springboards for discussion on progressive topics in the sector.”

Despina Katsikakis, President of the BCO, said: “I would like to express deep gratitude personally and on behalf of the BCO committees and members for Richard’s extraordinary work and commitment. For a quarter of a century Richard has focused on growing and diversifying the BCO’s membership and driving forward its purpose to research, inform and inspire best practice and discussion of key issues. Throughout his tenure Richard has positioned the BCO as the guiding light for a dynamic commercial office sector, a crucial role which we in the presidential team will continue to uphold and develop in line with the sector’s changing priorities and evolution.”

Peter Crowther, Senior Vice President of the BCO, said: “Fast approaching 25 years at the helm of the BCO, Richard has been a fantastic ambassador for the office sector, guiding members through economic recessions and the Covid-19 pandemic, to emerge stronger each time. Richard has steered the BCO to become one of Britain’s leading property bodies, producing publications heralded as ‘industry bibles’ and the BCO Awards have evolved to become acclaimed as the most rigorous and respected in our sector. He is an incredibly well-respected voice and leader in the industry. I am sure the entire membership and industry will join me in sincerely thanking Richard for his outstanding contribution and wishing him good health and happiness in his next chapter.”

ENDS

About the BCO

The British Council for Offices’ (BCO) mission is to research, develop and communicate best practice in all aspects of the office sector. It delivers this by providing a forum for the discussion and debate of relevant issues.

Established in 1990, the BCO is the UK’s leading forum for the discussion and debate of issues affecting the office sector.

Its members are all organisations involved in creating, acquiring, or occupying office space, whether architects, lawyers, surveyors, financial institutions, or public agencies. The BCO works to advance the collective understanding of its members, enabling them to work together to create more effective office space.

Media Contact:

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BCO@ing-media.com

T: + 44 (0) 20 7247 8334

Crowther, Co-Founder of HERE, succeeds Cushman & Wakefield’s Despina Katsikakis, and GPE’s Helen Hare becomes Senior Vice President

LONDON, 27 June 2024: Peter Crowther, Co-Founder at HERE, has been elected President of the British Council for Offices (BCO) with immediate effect, following yesterday’s BCO annual general meeting. He succeeds Despina Katsikakis, Executive Partner & Global Lead, Total Workplace at Cushman & Wakefield.

The presidential team also sees Helen Hare, Director of Projects at GPE, take on the role of Senior Vice President, following on from Crowther in the role. Andy McBain, Head of Future of Workspace & Design at NatWest Group, becomes the new Junior Vice President.

Crowther brings to the role expertise in navigating the intersection between the office and other sectors, as well as a passion for creating and delivering innovative and sustainable workplaces. His career spans more than 25 years in real estate. In his previous role as Chief Development Officer at Bruntwood SciTech, Crowther led the evolution of the company’s development portfolio since he joined in 1997, including the advent of its commercial, science and technology joint venture with Legal & General in 2018.

In April 2024, Crowther co-founded HERE, with fellow Bruntwood alumnus Kate Lawlor. HERE is a development management and advisory company focused on the acquisition, reinvention, repositioning and ongoing management of operational real estate – with a focus on commercial offices and laboratory spaces.

Crowther first joined the BCO in 2010, acting as a member of the BCO’s Northern Regional Committee. He was also a member of the National Awards Judging Panel between 2012 and 2017, acting as Chair of the panel in 2015.

Last month, Crowther chaired the BCO’s Annual Conference in Birmingham, which was themed “creating vibrancy”. Crowther was instrumental in involving the BCO’s NextGen cohort – the 25% of BCO members who are aged 35 and under – in the organisation of conference panels on topics including how culture shapes workplaces.

Crowther’s focus as BCO President will be on how the sector can continue to evolve in response to the challenges posed by climate change and rapid technological advancements through solutions such as retrofit and the integration of AI, while improving occupier-experience for all.

During her 12-month presidency, Katsikakis championed the role of the office in supporting environmental, social and economic resilience and providing inspiring places for people to thrive. Katsikakis took part in the organisation of the BCO’s inaugural ESG conference and oversaw the launch of the BCO’s new research agenda in January this year. This significant update included the development of the BCO’s ‘2030 vision for the office’, concentrating on four pillars: economy, business, technology, and ESG.

Katsikakis also led the undertaking of a new research initiative to define the parameters of customer experience and create a new BCO awards category, acknowledging that the future of the office will be characterised by a greater focus on people and experience.

Other changes to the BCO’s Presidential Team include Helen Hare’s promotion to Senior Vice President. Bruce Paterson, Founding Partner at Quantem, continues in his role as Honorary Treasurer.

Peter Crowther, President of the BCO and Co-Founder at HERE, said: “It is an honour to take on the role of BCO President. As we adapt to the new realities of hybrid, tech-enabled working conditions, the role of the office will continue to adapt to best meet the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s workers. I look forward to working with the BCO committees across the regions and the NextGen as we explore new models for office design and operation, and how commercial real estate can feed into the broader development of UK cities.”

Despina Katsikakis, Immediate Past President of the BCO and Executive Partner & Global Lead, Total Workplace at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “My warmest congratulations to Peter for his appointment as President of the BCO. It has been a pleasure to hold the position of BCO President over the past year and to be part of the organisation’s ongoing evolution. For me, finding new platforms for collaboration and testing ideas is one of the most important ways forward and the BCO continues to play a vital part in the industry by giving members from different sectors the chance to come together to learn from each other. I am excited to see what Peter will achieve in the coming year and look forward to continuing to support BCO members through my new position as Immediate Past President.”

Richard Kauntze, Chief Executive of the BCO, said: “I am delighted to welcome Peter Crowther to the role of BCO President. Peter has made his mark in the commercial sector as an innovative and ambitious leader, and I am a great admirer of Peter’s collaborative and creative vision for the future of the workplace. It was a huge pleasure to work alongside him on the curation of this year’s BCO conference in Birmingham, where his focus on social value and inclusivity was brought to the fore. I wish him the very best for this new role and look forward to seeing all he will accomplish during his presidential year.

“My sincere thanks go to Despina Katsikakis for her outstanding work over the past year. Despina has been a formidable leader for the BCO. Despina’s work with the BCO’s Research Committee to launch new research pillars to set the parameters for upcoming papers demonstrates her ongoing role in guiding the office sector as it continues to evolve in response to changing occupier needs, economic shifts, the rapid progression of workplace tech and growing sustainability standards. Despina’s human-centric approach, her inquisitive nature and her clear passion for creating spaces with wellbeing at their heart have left a lasting impression on the BCO.”

“I would also like to thank Bruce Paterson for his dedication and continued work as BCO’s Honorary Treasurer, congratulate Helen Hare, who now becomes our Senior Vice President, and welcome Andy McBain, our new Junior Vice President.”

About the BCO

The British Council for Offices (BCO) is the UK’s leading member organisation representing the interests of all those who occupy, design, build, own or manage offices in the UK. The BCO leads on thought leadership and best practice in all issues related to the creation and use of office space – through its research, awards, conference and events programmes. You can learn more about the BCO at www.bco.org.uk.

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Key recommendations include the development of the BCO’s ‘2030 vision for the office’. Four priority focus areas are identified in the Research Programme Working Document, which sets the agenda for upcoming research over the near and medium term. These are economy, business, technology and ESG (environmental, social and governance).

The agenda is a direct response to the current and ongoing dynamics in the office sector. It seeks to focus the BCO’s research on the areas where in-depth understanding is most needed of fast-moving trends and emerging opportunities. The publication aims to lay the groundwork for a new vision of the office as an economically productive, occupier-first, technologically enabled and sustainable part of our built environment.

The papers are introduced by a forward from Bill Hughes, Global Head of Real Assets at Legal and General Investment Management, and have been authored by leading industry specialists, who explore economy, business, technology and ESG, respectively:

  • Nick Axford, Global Head of Research at Avison Young,
  • Chris Kane, Co-Founder at EverythingOmni,
  • Nigel Miller, Managing Director at Cordless Consultants
  • and Hannah Davis, Director at Faithful+Gould.

Each paper identifies a series of key changes facing the office sector and how the BCO will lead investigation and discussion around them, resulting in new innovation and exemplar solutions.

This includes:

  • re-evaluating the notion of offices as capital assets in light of the broader role of offices as a source of community and place-making in the UK’s new and shifting economic geography;
  • responding to the rise of consumer power and rapidly changing business priorities by establishing an improved dialogue between the property industry and its occupiers;
  • developing strategic industry guidance around technology and its adoption in build and fit-out process;
  • working towards a common definition of ESG principles and providing technical guidance on full life cycle sustainability for office designers, planners, operators and asset managers.

An integral part of the brief for each research pillar was the need to consider change, not only in terms of the detailed issues being faced today but, critically, to take a longer-term perspective in order to anticipate challenges and turn them into opportunities.

Each pillar topic also considers the social relevance of the office as a fully integrated part of the broader infrastructure of UK cities and towns.

Intended to spark discussion, the BCO’s Research Committee will use this publication as a basis for its ongoing research around these subjects.

Members can download the BCO Programme Working Document here.

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