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15 DEC 2019

My Way: Chris Marriott FRICS

It wasn't just valuable antiques that a young Chris Marriott stumbled upon while working at a local auction house, he also discovered his passion for real estate. Now, after several years working in global markets, he has established himself as an influential market leader and CEO of Savills in Southeast Asia.

The beginning

Believe it or not, it all started at a local auction house of a small chartered surveying practice in Chippenham, Wiltshire, in the United Kingdom, where I spent a summer helping the practice sell old furniture and chattels. The auction room opened up a whole new world for me and was undeniably a prelude to where I am today.

Leading up to an auction day, I would spend countless hours buried in books and catalogues to ensure it would be a success. At the young age of 17 and with zero experience, I felt a real sense of adrenaline when "knocking down" items.

These experiences spurred me to pursue a bachelor's degree in Real Estate Management at Birmingham Polytechnic, now Birmingham City University. My first role in industry was with the venerable firm of Hiller Parker (now CBRE) in London.

The breakthrough

When I was 21, I took on my first solo assignment; I was asked to handle the sale of a five-year lease. This happened to be the last to be bought back by a developer MEPC, who had an "oven-ready" scheme for one million sq ft, except for this lease. I scored my first real bonus when I reeled-in close to £1 million for the leaseholder when £60,000 was offered by the lease owner.

At 24, I decided to move to Hong Kong to join Brooke Hillier Parker. It was here that I was exposed to various challenges that truly shaped me to be more resilient, self-motivated and made me a well-rounded real estate advisor.

These learnings set a foundation for my next move to Singapore, where I was asked by Mike Laven, my life-long mentor, to setup and build FPDSavills. After the establishment of Singapore operations, I returned to Hong Kong two years later to run our commercial leasing business and became Deputy Managing Director of Savills' Hong Kong business.

The present

At 45, with a lifetime of experience under my belt, I fashioned a new role in Singapore as CEO for Southeast Asia. Along the way, I have been involved in, or have led, numerous corporate acquisitions and strategic relationships, and have acted on behalf of investors, developers, occupiers and end-users for their real estate needs.

I oversee Savills' activity and expansion plans across the region and manage Singapore operations. Other than sales and leasing, I am also in charge of the expansion and development of new offices and service lines, and work to secure new talent and identify acquisitions for the businesses. I also sit on the Asia Pacific Executive Committee, which determines the strategic direction for business in the region.

Chris Marriott FRICS
Chris Marriott FRICS

Timeline

  • 1986 Completes BSc in Real Estate Management, Birmingham Polytechnic, UK
  • 1986 Joins Hillier Parker as chartered surveyor, Investment & Advisory department, UK
  • 1990 Joins Brooke Hillier Parker as Partner, Leasing & Tenant Representation, Hong Kong
  • 1995 Creates FPDSavills in Singapore
  • 1998 Joins Savills as Head of Leasing Services, Hong Kong
  • 2003 Promoted to Deputy Managing Director, Hong Kong
  • 2003 Becomes Board Director of Savills Asia Pacific
  • 2010 Becomes Chief Executive Officer of Savills Southeast Asia
  • 2019 Joins RICS Southeast Asia Regional Board

I am an advocate of innovative technologies as I strongly believe this will have a positive impact, not just on the way we do business, but also on communities, human wellbeing, and our environmental footprint.

Chris Marriott FRICS, CEO, Savills Southeast Asia

The future

I plan to build out Savills' Southeast-Asia platform to be "best-of-breed". While we have outstanding existing platforms, I see great opportunities to grow as the Indonesian, Vietnamese and Philippines economies develop.

Two areas where I focus much of my energy are technology and the environment. I am an advocate of combining our professional knowledge and experiences with innovative technologies. I strongly believe these will have a positive impact, not just on the way we do business, but also on communities, human wellbeing, and our environment.

Connect with Chris Marriott on LinkedIn