People Space: AY expands global team, Savills hires in Toronto

Managing Editor
  • Jul. 15, 2019
IMAGE: Nick Axford has moved to Avison Young as principal and global head of research.

Nick Axford has moved to Avison Young as principal and global head of research.

Commercial real estate services company Avison Young continues to expand its international management team. The Canadian firm announced seven significant hirings, including six senior executives for its expanded Washington, D.C., area operations, and global property markets analyst Nick Axford in London.

AY announced Monday the hirings of industry veterans Glenn Meltzer, Robert Katz and Eugene Martin. All three become principals focusing on office tenant and buyer representation and advisory services in the Washington Metro area and across the U.S.

AY has also hired John SikaitisNick Guglietta and Carl Caputo to lead the firm’s global innovation practice, all also working out of Washington.

Axford takes new research position

Axford becomes a principal and assumes the new position of global director of research. The former global head of research at CBRE, Axford will oversee AY’s global research operations from its London office.

“We are very pleased to have attracted someone of Nick’s calibre to Avison Young as we expand our research operations and offerings in conjunction with our firm’s aggressive global expansion strategy,” said AY president and CEO Mark Rose in a release.

“Nick will play a leading role in expanding the scope and structure of our research operations and services across the company.”

Axford brings 29 years of CRE industry experience to AY, 24 of which were with CBRE. During his tenure, he also acted as the research leader for the U.K., EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and Asia-Pacific.

Axford holds a doctorate in economic geography and an honours bachelor of science in geography from the University of Southampton. In addition, he obtained a Diploma in Surveying with distinction from the University of Reading’s College of Estate Management.

New tenant and buyer rep team

Meltzer, Katz and Martin were most recently with The Ezra Company, an exclusively tenant-focused CRE firm in Washington, where Meltzer was president, Katz was executive director and Martin served as executive vice-president. They are among eight former Ezra company staff who are joining AY.

“We could not be more pleased to welcome Glenn, Bobby and Gene to Avison Young,” said AY’s Washington managing director John Peyton in a release. “Their arrival further strengthens the platform – and specifically, tenant advisory services – in the greater Washington area.”

Meltzer has 34 years of commercial real estate experience in the D.C. region. His expertise is in the analysis, structure and negotiation of real estate transactions in lease, purchase, build-to-suit development and tenant-equity participation. Meltzer, who has earned several awards for his accomplishments, holds a BSBA degree from the American University School of Business Administration where he graduated magna cum laude.

Katz brings 34 years of CRE experience. He is recognized as a skilled negotiator in real estate markets across the country, assisting law firms, associations and corporations with local, national and international requirements. Katz holds a Bachelor of Science in political science from Guilford College.

Martin has 30 years of experience, specializing in tenant consulting and brokerage activities. He is a recipient of the Leasing Transaction of the Year award from the CREBA of Greater D.C. among other honours. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in accounting from the St. John’s University School of Business.

Also joining Avison Young in the Washington area are: Colin Oppenheimer, vice-president; Matthew Goldberg, vice-president; Sabin Bista, IT project manager; Brian Martin, senior associate; and Adina Nyce, marketing coordinator. All are formerly from The Ezra Company.

Avison Young global innovation practice

In its global innovation practice hires, Sikaitis becomes a principal and chief innovation officer; Guglietta becomes global practice lead for product development; and Caputo becomes global practice lead for data science.

They will be based in Washington to guide new ideas, processes and products. All three join Avison Young from JLL in Washington, where Sikaitis was managing director of research, advisory and business development; Guglietta was senior director of product, data visualization and analytics; and Caputo was director of research, data and analytics.

“In this newly created role of CIO, John will be responsible for building strategy, enhancing processes and introducing products that position our clients effectively in the real estate market,” said Rose in a release. “Nick will focus on the exploration, assessment and implementation of innovative technological solutions to address opportunities across the commercial real estate industry. Carl will partner with our clients, transaction professionals, leadership team and researchers, as well as external service providers, to create a transformational data, analytics and advisory platform . . .”

Sikaitis brings 17 years of commercial real estate experience and will sit on the firm’s global executive committee. During his 15-year tenure at JLL he fuelled the firm’s research platform, growing the head count by more than 10 times and rolling out a go-to-market model that doubled win rates across every major business line in the past four years.

Guglietta has five years of industry experience with JLL and 11 years of professional experience developing software solutions for the real estate and financial services industries.

Caputo has six years of experience with JLL, where he helped build and expand the local research platform.

Savills adds Kenny Lam in Toronto

International real estate services provider Savills has appointed Kenny Lam as an associate director of its global retail services team in Toronto. He will assist in expanding the platform in Canada, while providing customized solutions for retail clients in major markets across the world.

“Savills global retail services platform offers specialists and extensive resources throughout the world’s major markets,” said Lam in a release. “I look forward to contributing my perspective, relationships and experience to further expand the firm’s expertise in Canada and solidify the group’s position at the forefront of real estate advisory.”

As a member of the cross-border retail team, Lam will work alongside the firm’s other global retail experts in the Asia Pacific, Continental Europe, the Middle East, North America and the U.K. to advise international brands looking to enter Canada or expand internationally.

Prior to joining Savills in Toronto, Lam led tenant representation at the firm’s Hong Kong office.

Delma appoints Yves Séguin to board

The Delma Group Inc. (DLMA-CN) has appointed former Quebec politician Yves Séguin as chairman of the board. With over 40 years of experience in business, government and institutions, Séguin brings an in-depth understanding of regulatory issues, the mechanics of government entities, and fiscal policies. A strong negotiator, he has participated in many major transactions. 

Séguin acted as finance minister for the Government of Quebec (2003-2005), minister of revenue and labour (1987-1992), president of the Commission on Fiscal Imbalance (2001-2002). A lawyer by profession, he has held director positions with the Bank of Montreal and Vivendi Group in France.

Since 2008, he has been the president of SNCO Finance, a corporate financial advisory firm.

He replaces Terence Badour, who resigned for personal reasons.

Delma operates in Canada in the development, acquisition and management of multi-purpose real estate, including retail, industrial, residential and office buildings as well as development land.

Jeff Thomas moves to KingSett

Jeff Thomas has been appointed executive director, development lead, urban mixed use at Kingsett Capital. He will be responsible for the acquisition and disposition of real estate across Canada.

Thomas was formerly managing partner of Ashlar Urban, a commercial real estate brokerage firm sold to Cushman & Wakefield in 2017.

In that role, he was the leading broker in the greater Toronto area with C&W’s Capital Markets group. Thomas holds a BA in public administration and public policy from the University of Western Ontario and an HBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business.

Rees joins Madison Pacific board

Madison Pacific Properties (MPC-C-T) announced in its quarterly report that Jonathan Rees has been appointed to its board of directors. Rees is a principal at PCRE Group, a private Vancouver-based real estate development firm. 

He brings both real estate and financial expertise to Madison Pacific, having formerly served as an executive vice-president and chief financial officer for a large public real estate investment and property management firm.


Don is a veteran editor and journalist with three decades of experience in print and online news, including 20 years at the Ottawa Sun. Most recently, he was the Sun’s…

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Don is a veteran editor and journalist with three decades of experience in print and online news, including 20 years at the Ottawa Sun. Most recently, he was the Sun’s…

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