People Space: COO hiring at Oxford, new execs at AY, CLC, Breather…

Managing Editor
  • Aug. 23, 2019
IMAE: Dean Hopkins is the chief operations officer at Oxford Properties. (Courtesy Oxford Properties)

Dean Hopkins has been appointed chief operations officer at Oxford Properties. (Courtesy Oxford Properties)

Oxford Properties has announced a series of changes within its management team, including the appointment of Dean Hopkins as its chief operations officer (COO). 

In other moves, Oxford appointed Jo McNamara its managing director, head of Europe; and David Matheson as managing director, head of Asia Pacific. He also continues to lead investment and development in both Europe and Asia Pacific. They will report to Paul Brundage, Oxford’s senior managing director, head of Europe and Asia Pacific and a member of its executive leadership team.

Eric Plesman and Chad Remis have been appointed the heads of Oxford’s North American business and join the executive leadership team as executive vice-presidents. 

Also in Asia Pacific, Alec Harper becomes head of Australia, reporting to Matheson.

“This new structure is all about creating a scalable and agile business as we continue on our journey of global growth,” said Michael Turner, Oxford’s president, in a release. “These organizational changes simplify our leadership structure and align it to our growth strategy.

“Over the past year, we’ve entered into new markets, increased our diversification across both geographies and asset classes and built a platform that now spans four continents. The new structure allows us to pair the advantages of a worldwide platform with the benefits of local expertise and talent.”

Hopkins most recently served as CEO of scale-up innovation hub OneEleven. Prior to that, he spent 12 years leading global transformation programs at Thomson Reuters.

“Be it the Internet of Things, AI or Augmented Analytics, the commercial real estate industry is primed for disruption, yet there is a dearth of C-Suite-level tech experience across our industry,” Turner said in the release.

“Dean’s appointment brings us valuable expertise as we continue to not only harness the power of technology to transform the way our customers interact with real estate, but also to transform our own ways of working as we become increasingly global.” 

CLC appoints new head of attractions

Canada Lands Company has named Neil Jones executive vice-president of attractions.

Canada Lands Company, a federal Crown corporation, manages and operates some of Canada’s most iconic and historically significant landmarks: CN Tower in Toronto, the Old Port of Montréal, the Montréal Science Centre and Downsview Park in Toronto.

“Neil’s depth of hospitality and tourism expertise will serve the company extremely well as we continue to offer memorable experiences that educate and entertain millions of visitors,” said John McBain, president and CEO of Canada Lands Company, in a release.

Jones moves into the role from his previous position managing the CN Tower. His new position focuses on strategic planning, leveraging competencies and best practices across all sites, and the pursuit of innovative solutions to ensure millions of guests continue to visit Canada Lands’ attractions.

He has over 30 years of experience in the hospitality business and has worked for various hotel and restaurant groups in Canada, Bermuda, England and Scotland.

New CTO at Breather

Montreal-based Breather has hired Philippe Bouffaut as its chief technology officer.

Bouffaut has more than 20 years of experience in software and product design at Cision and CEDROM Technologies. At Cision, he was vice-president of products and engineering.

“Now is the time to amplify the company’s existing technology to meet the next wave of flexible workspace needs and office management priorities,” said Bouffaut in a Breather post on LinkedIn.

“The role of office space and real estate managers is shifting rapidly and I am excited to develop the tech stack needed to help them succeed.”

Breather offers a North American network of private office and meeting spaces with short-term commitments. It currently operates in 10 cities and says its clients include companies as large as American Express, Spotify and Tesla.

AY continues hiring frenzy

Avison Young has continued its global scaling-up, announcing a number of hirings including Charlie Morris as head of its U.S. flexible office solutions (FOS) practice.

“We’re thrilled that Charlie is taking on this role as we continue to grow our U.S. FOS practice and roll out the business line globally,” said Mark Rose, AY’s chair and CEO, in a release.

“The flexible office sector is about more than just co-working space, and due to the demand from the enterprise occupier community, new flexible operators continue to emerge and the ownership community is acknowledging the need for a core-plus-flex asset management strategy.”

Morris has 13 years of CRE experience, most recently as director of business development for LiquidSpace, a proptech startup. He has 13 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry.

Prior to joining LiquidSpace, he was a principal of Avison Young from 2014 to 2018, and has also held senior positions with Cassidy Turley and Colliers.

Avison Young has also announced the promotions of two AY finance leaders and the hiring of three managers to newly created positions:

* Tom Morande is promoted to chief financial officer, North America: Morande, a principal, has been AY’s chief accounting officer since joining the company in 2015 and has 22 years of commercial real estate industry experience;

* Ricardo Jenkins is promoted to chief accounting officer: Also a principal, he has 13 years of CRE experience and was previously the company’s global controller;

* Robert Dunlop joins as global treasurer: Dunlop brings 25 years of treasury and finance experience, most recently as vice-president and group treasurer at INEOS Styrolution Group GmbH in Frankfurt;

* Ashwini Sawhney joins as director of strategy: Sawhney has more than 15 years of corporate strategy and development experience. She previously worked in the corporate development groups of Fortune 1000 companies, as an advisor to private-equity-owned middle-market companies and at a global financial advisory firm;

* Steve Cresswell joins as European director of finance and operations: Cresswell has 17 years of CRE experience, most recently as a senior manager of JLL’S office fit-out business.

Morande, Jenkins, Dunlop and Sawhney will be based in Avison Young’s Chicago office and Cresswell will be based in London.

Cominar hires data, asset manager heads

Cominar REIT (CUF-UN-T) has made two management appointments in recent weeks, adding Melanié Valleé as vice-president data and technology, as well as Alexandra Faciu as executive director asset management.

During her two decades in the industry, Faciu has worked in increasingly senior positions for a number of companies, including JLL, Brookfield Financial, Fonds immobilier de solidarité FTQ and Ivanhoé Cambridge. Most recently she was Bombardier’s global lead for real estate.

Valleé also brings two decades of experience to her new role, much of it spent managing large-scale IT projects.

New owner, CEO at Paradigm

After almost a decade in increasingly senior roles with Ottawa-based commercial asset and property management firm Paradigm Properties, Ashley Hopkins has become the company’s owner and CEO.

Hopkins started with Paradigm in 2010 as its investment co-ordinator, then was named a partner and vice-president in 2016.

On June 30, she acquired the company and moved into the CEO’s role.

“The acquisition represents the next chapter for our brand, initiating even more growth opportunities and innovation,” Hopkins said in a LinkedIn post.

“Paradigm Properties is an exceptional business run by a team of ambitious relationship-driven people and will no doubt continue to do amazing things.”

KingSett hires Montreal executive director

KingSett Capital has opened a Montréal mortgage lending office and appointed Marc-André Louiseize as its executive director of mortgage investments.

Louiseize joined KingSett from the Montréal office of one of Canada’s leading banks.

He’ll be responsible for sourcing and managing industrial, commercial and residential first- and second-mortgage loans for KingSett in Québec with a focus on the Greater Montréal Area.


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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