Property's leading lights shine at Property Awards 2017

The great and the good of property gathered together at Grosvenor House on Park Lane for the 2017 Property Awards tonight.

The evening was a celebration of the very best the industry has to offer and was certainly a night to remember, headlined by two new entrants into our Hall of Fame and the crowning of the Property Personality of the Year 2017.

See the full list of winners below ahead of full highlights in this week’s print edition:

Gerald Ronson CBE

In a career that now spans more than 60 years, Gerald Ronson has had his fair share of dramas. To quote one of his best friends, his life is “biblical” in its proportions. Having left school at 14 and a half, the Heron Tower developer worked in the family furniture manufacturing business, invented self-service petrol stations and built a sprawling business and property empire straddling Heron International, Ronson Capital Partners, Rontec Investments, the Snax 24 petrol retail business and GMR Capital.

Along the way, he has made, lost and remade a fortune, but what has never changed is his work ethic. Now in his late 70s, Ronson still works a six-day week and, as he told Property Week in 2015, he will retire “when they carry me out in a box - and I’m not planning that for a long time”. A self-declared “property dinosaur”, Ronson is also known for being firm but fair. In the words of one of his peers, he is “a tough guy who knows what he’s doing and has a sense of honour and fairness”.

Sir George Iacobescu CBE

It is no exaggeration to say that George Iacobescu has done as much as anyone to change the face of London. Born in Romania in 1945, Iacobescu studied engineering at Bucharest University before escaping the rule of Nicolae Ceauşescu in 1975 and establishing a career in the property industry in Canada. By the late 1980s, he had become vice-president of Olympia & York, in which capacity he moved to London in 1988 to oversee the construction of Canary Wharf.

Iacobescu stayed with the project after the developer went into administration in 1991, working first as construction director, then deputy chief executive of the Canary Wharf Group when it formed in 1995, before taking the top job in 1997. For almost exactly two decades, he has presided over what is now unquestionably one of the greatest business districts in the world.

The regard in which he is held is underlined by the fact that he remains in place as both CEO and chairman two years after the Qatar Investment Authority and Brookfield Property Partners acquired the Canary Wharf Group. While many new owners would have ousted the incumbent in favour of one of their own, Brookfield and the Qataris clearly view Iacobescu as indispensable. It’s hard to disagree.

Few people have had as big an influence on property as Bill Hughes. In the last year, he and his team launched a £1bn build-to-rent platform and announced an investment in a dedicated modular housing factory.

In addition, Hughes has transformed L&G’s property fund management business into a ‘real assets’ platform, employing a joined-up approach to property and infrastructure to unlock vital regeneration projects such as DP World’s London Gateway and the £350m Newcastle Science Central. In 2016, he was appointed as chairman of the Property Industry Alliance. He is a member of the UK Green Building Council’s board of trustees and attends both the Bank of England’s commercial and residential property forums.

William Newton and Tom Redmayne joined WiredScore in 2015 after the company won a GLA contract to set up a connectivity rating system for London offices. With their complimentary skills - Newton worked for McKinsey & Co and the Cabinet Office, while Redmayne worked for Cushman & Wakefield - the pair quickly grew the business.

The company has already acted for more than 60 leading UK landlords, including British Land, The Crown Estate, Great Portland Estates, Land Securities and Stanhope. The judges described WiredScore as “really of the moment” and “fresh, new and very relevant”.

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