A former student from King Edward VI Camp Hill School in Kings Heath has been announced as president of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors for the coming year.
Mr Max Crofts, who took up his position at the annual general meeting on Monday, is partner at international property consultants King Sturge LLP in Bristol. His firm, which will celebrate its 250th anniversary in 2010, has provided two earlier presidents; William Sturge in 1878 and Philip Franklin in 1976.
A specialist in corporate real estate advice and an arbitrator of property disputes, Mr Crofts joined J P Sturge & Sons in 1970 as its first graduate trainee. In 1974, he opened the firm’s Bath office, which he ran for 17 years before returning to Bristol in 1992 at the time of the firm’s merger with London-based King & Co.
Speaking at the inauguration, Mr Crofts said: “The past year has been tumultuous for all in the property world. Members at all levels have been directly or indirectly affected by reduced confidence and fewer business opportunities.
“The most important action the RICS can take, which the presidential team will reinforce, is to ensure that the letters FRICS and MRICS continue to be recognised both as the ‘gold standard’ in property expertise and as a ‘global passport’ – the worldwide badge of quality.
“We must ensure that the profession has the capacity to take advantage of the inevitable upturn, whenever it comes. We are particularly conscious of the difficulties faced by those who have found themselves seeking new jobs and we are keen to ensure that our qualified members and new entrants are not lost to the profession.
“One of the ways in which the Institution can underline the profession’s credentials is through its work with governments around the world, who acknowledge that RICS’ measured and thoughtful approach, based on the solid foundation of standards and professionalism, is the answer to a number of challenges in consumer protection and property service, for example in the United Kingdom residential sector.”
Mr Crofts initially became involved in the RICS junior organisation committee (now RICS matrics) in 1972 and first sat on the general council in 1977. Over the past three decades, he has been active in numerous RICS councils and committees, including the public affairs policy committee (chairman 2000-2003), members’ support service management board (chairman 2003-09) ethics, conduct and consumer policy committee (vice-chairman 2003-08), commission on major disaster management (2005-2008), standards & practice sommittee (1995-2000), and compulsory professional indemnity insurance working party (chairman 1995-2000).
Elected alongside Mr Crofts as President-Elect is Robert Peto, vice chairman of capital markets at DTZ, the global real estate consultant which is quoted on the London Stock Exchange and employs 11,000 people worldwide. For nine years until 2008, he was chairman of DTZ UK and a member of the board of DTZ Holdings Plc. Based in London, he will work closely with the incoming president over the coming year, before assuming the presidency next July. The two vice presidents for 2009-10 will be See Lian Ong from David Langdon & Seah, Malaysia and Alan Collett of Allsops.