The British Council for Offices (BCO) formally welcomes James Wates as its new President. Wates, who is Deputy Chairman of the Wates Group, takes over the post from Gary Wingrove at the BCO's Annual General Meeting at Google's office at Central Saint Giles in London.
As Chairman of the BCO Annual Conference in Manchester in May this year, attended by 500 property professionals, James Wates asked delegates to look at their sector in a wider economic context. This included an analysis of what makes strong cities, with conference sessions that addressed global economic conditions and prospects.
As the first contractor to take the Presidency of the BCO, James Wates feels a strong sense of responsibility to the role and to the BCO's members:
"Gary Wingrove has set a terrific pace as President and it will be no mean feat to maintain that. As someone whose whole working life has been spent in Construction, I would like to feel that I can bring a rounded sense of perspective to this superb constituency within the property sector.
"Office developments are more significant today than they've ever been. They are expected to acknowledge and even set standards in carbon reduction and neutrality as well as in the quality of environments in which millions of people spend large parts of their lives.
"The economy at present is to be navigated rather than depended on to provide a steady course. The BCO's membership has a huge impact on how successfully this is done; from developers to architects to designers and builders - we all have a part to play in delivering quality even in challenged times.
"As we saw at the Annual Conference, skills, vision and innovation are three of the key ingredients in members supporting cities to be competitive and thrive. My fourth is focus. We are a superb sector with enviable talent and a fantastic canvass on which to realize our work. But we know that takes commitment and effort to underpin the creativity and innovation as the sector faces increasing demand for flexible and multi-use office space.
"I'm looking forward to a year in which the BCO continues to take strides forward for its members and the sector, as it has under my predecessor."
Richard Kauntze, Chief Executive of the BCO, commented: "I would like to pay tribute to the outgoing president, Gary Wingrove, who has done a fantastic job of challenging us to consider the needs of occupiers in office development something we're determined to continue to work with our members to do. All at the BCO are delighted to welcome James into the role, to give us another perspective on the delivery of high quality office space and help facilitate the BCO's ultimate aim of encouraging greater dialogue within the industry as a whole.
"James led an exceptionally successful annual conference in May this year, always something of a baptism of fire for the incoming President. His great skill and experience as one of the construction sector's leading representatives stood him in very good stead and he did a superb job."
James Wates joined Wates Construction in 1983 and the Wates Construction Board as Marketing Director in 1994. He was appointed to the Wates Group Board in 1997. Wates is Chairman of the Nominations Committee and a member of the Remuneration Committee. Outside the Group and his role as President of the BCO, Wates is involved with several industry bodies.
He is Chairman of ConstructionSkills, Chairman of the UK Contractors Group, Vice Chairman of the CBI Construction Council and a Commissioner for the UK Commission for Employment and Skills. He is a Trustee of the Building Research Establishment Trust, a Governor of Emanuel School, Vice Chairman of Queen Elizabeth's Foundation for the Disabled and sits on the London Regional Council of The Prince's Trust. He is also a patron of the Wates Family Enterprise Trust. In January 2012 Wates was awarded the CBE for services to Construction and the Charitable sector.
His appointment to BCO President will see Neil Thompson, Development Director at Great Portland Estates plc,