Marnix Galle, executive chairman of Belgian developer Immobel, has been appointed ULI Europe Chairman, serving on a voluntary basis for a two-year term starting on July 1, 2020, and will join the ULI Global Board of Directors. He succeeds outgoing Europe chairman Juergen Fenk, member of the executive board, SIGNA Holding GmbH.
Galle brings extensive ULI leadership experience to his new role. He previously served as chair of ULI Belgium for three years (2015–2018) and is currently vice chair of the ULI Europe Executive Committee. He is also a ULI Global Governing Trustee as well as a member of the ULI Europe Urban Regeneration Product Council.
“We are excited at the prospect of having Marnix as the chair of ULI Europe,” says ULI Global Chairman Owen D. Thomas, chief executive officer of Boston Properties. “Not only does he have a proven track record of delivering membership growth whilst chair of ULI Belgium, but he is also very passionate about ULI’s mission and creating better communities through responsible land use and development. He is a popular and generous industry leader and we believe that the EMEA region will continue to thrive under his leadership, building on what has already been achieved so far.”
“It is a great honor to be appointed as chair of ULI Europe and I would like to thank Juergen Fenk for his exceptional leadership over the past two years,” Galle says. “During Juergen’s term as chair, ULI Europe has grown rapidly to over 4,000 members, and expanded the engagement opportunities by adding more in-person and virtual events, creating new Product Councils, and launching programs such as the regional Awards for Excellence, ULI European Leadership Awards, and the ULI Hines Student Competition–Europe. In addition, the flagship event for the region—the ULI Europe Conference—has seen significant growth since the ULI Europe Executive Committee decided to rotate the conference annually between main cities across Europe, starting with Berlin in 2018. Since then, attendance has seen year-on-year record growth under Juergen’s leadership.”
At the same time, outgoing chair Fenk has also ensured that the Institute has been able to adapt to changing circumstances. He believes that Galle is an excellent choice of leader, saying, “Marnix’s real estate credentials, combined with his infectious positivity and enthusiasm, will ensure that ULI Europe is well positioned to attract new members and build on the success of the last few years. He has demonstrated his passion for ULI time and time again and is always eager to explore new opportunities for providing value to members.”
Galle has identified four priorities: responding to COVID-19, and mitigating its impact, will be the Institute’s main challenge in the short term as it seeks to safely put on a comprehensive events program, both virtually and in person, during the year ahead. In addition, he intends to focus on continuing ULI’s growth path throughout the EMEA region; pursue ULI’s mission as global thought leaders on urban, suburban, and sustainable development; and emphasize the need to structurally embed inclusivity into real estate development and investment.
“We have ambitions to grow ULI’s membership throughout the EMEA region, and a large part of that will be promoting our digital offering,” Galle says. “Being a ULI member is more important than ever as we collaborate to navigate these turbulent times for the real estate industry. For over 80 years, ULI members have helped each other through numerous economic cycles by sharing best practices, new ideas, and lessons learned. We have seen that our regional webinars have been incredibly popular with tens of thousands of views on ULI’s Knowledge Finder platform since the beginning of April alone.”
Emphasizing the Institute’s global credentials will be a key priority for Galle, as “ULI’s genuinely global multidisciplinary membership is something that makes us unique among real estate organizations leveraging an incredible platform as we benefit from experience around the world to help create and sustain thriving communities. Whilst the impact of COVID-19 has been devastating, it has provided us with an unprecedented opportunity to rethink how society should function and it is particularly important to me that we emphasize the need to structurally embed inclusivity into real estate development and investment.”
In addition to Galle’s appointment as ULI Europe Chairman, five new members of the ULI Europe Executive Committee will commence two-year terms on July 1, 2020, including Sébastien Chemouny, new ULI France chair and head of France at Allianz Real Estate, Paris; William Riordan, new ULI Europe Young Leaders chair and director at Value Retail, London; Dorota Wysokinska-Kuzdra, current ULI Poland chair and director and partner, head of corporate finance CEE, Colliers, Warsaw; Lars Huber, CEO European Region, Hines, London; and Ed Siskind, founder and CEO, Cale Street Partners, London.
Completing the ULI Europe Executive Committee are existing members Juergen Fenk, immediate past chairman of ULI Europe and member of the executive board, SIGNA Group; Vanessa Hale, ULI U.K. chair and director of research, BNP Paribas Real Estate, London; Gero Bergmann, ULI Germany chair and member of the board of management of Berlin Hyp AG; Galyna Permyakova, ULI NEXT Europe chair and director, Patrizia AG, Amsterdam; Sophie van Oosterom, CEO and CIO–EMEA, CBRE Global Investors, Schiphol; Jon Zehner, global cohead, client capital group, LaSalle Investment Management, London; Christian Schede, managing partner–shareholder, Greenberg Traurig Germany LLP, Berlin; Alexander Gebauer, CEO West Europe, Allianz Real Estate, Paris; and Lisette van Doorn, CEO of ULI Europe.