New Chairman Takes Over at REI

Longstanding non-executive Will Wyatt has taken over as chairman of Birmingham-based Real Estate Investors plc (REI) on the retirement of well-known Birmingham lawyer and businessman John Crabtree OBE.

Also joining the board is one of the city’s best known property professionals Ian Stringer, currently principal of Avison Young in the global commercial property agency’s Midlands office in Birmingham.

Paul Bassi, chief executive of REI, said: “On behalf of the board of REI and all our staff, I would like to thank John Crabtree for his wise counsel during his time as chairman of the company. I am also delighted that Ian has agreed to join the company as a non-executive director. We are very much looking forward to working with Ian, who is one of the most respected figures in the Midlands property market and REI will benefit from his lengthy experience in the property sector and, in particular, the Midlands region.”

Ian Stringer is a chartered surveyor whose career began in 1983 at Grimley and Son and he has stayed with the business in its various incarnations throughout his entire career. He has spent a total of 22 years on the board and was elected by the partners as non-executive chairman from 2005-2008 when GVA was incorporated.

He currently serves as Principal of Avison Young, following its acquisition of Bilfinger GVA in 2018 and spends much of his time in a client advisory capacity as asset and property manager to The Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham, a 400-year-old foundation. He is also a director of Bromsgrove School and String of Bars Ltd.

He said: “I have watched REI grow under the direction of Paul Bassi and the board since it was founded in 2004. It’s geographical focus on Birmingham and Midlands region very much reflects my interests and I look forward to bringing my experience to bear on what is set to be a very interesting period in real estate as we emerge from the pandemic.”

In March, REI announced  it had renewed part of its banking facilities of £51m with NatWest on favourable terms, positioning REI to take advantage of the regional economic bounce back anticipated in the second half of 2021.

Mr Bassi said: “Our regional economy looks set to recover from the pandemic and looks forward to the economic boost from HS2, Coventry City of Culture 2021 and the Commonwealth Games 2022. Our business remains well positioned to capitalise on a growing occupier demand for the convenience and neighbourhood assets and our out-of-town offices. As the marketplace normalises, we anticipate a healthy recovery in valuations and sales at pre-COVID-19 levels with a strong investor demand for regional assets that performed well during the global pandemic, supported by high levels of equity and low costs of debt available for real estate.”