Corporate Real Estate Updates: Blackrock, JLL, Colliers & Others

AskPorter Gets New Investment from Google
Google has agreed to invest in London-founded Artificial Intelligence-led property start-up AskPorter, reported PlaceTech. AskPorter acts as a digital assistant between landlords and tenants, helping set up speedily everything from utility bill payments to arranging cleaning. Tom Shrive, founder & CEO of AskPorter, said: “We’re delighted to have been selected as the Google Assistant Investment Program’s first international investment. It’s incredibly exciting to be able to work with the experts at Google to improve the AI and machine learning technology that powers Porter.

Blackrock to Layoff Staff
The world’s largest asset manager, said its is cutting 3 percent of its global workforce (around 500 employees), the largest reduction in its headcount since 2016. The company’s shares slid 24 percent last year, the worst performance since 2008, according to Bloomberg.

Century 21 Gets New CEO
Century 21 Real Estate announced leadership changes driven by the decision of President and Chief Executive Officer Nick Bailey to step down, effective January 11, 2019, reported The Real Deal. Real Estate veteran and current Century 21 Real Estate Chief Growth Officer Michael Miedler has been named President and Chief Executive Officer for the iconic global real estate brand. To ensure a smooth transition, Bailey will serve as an advisor to the company until March 1, 2019. Century 21 has approximately 127,000 independent sales professionals in approximately 9,400 offices spanning 80 countries and territories.

Colliers Now The Largest Manager of Federal Government Properties
Colliers International Group has completed the acquisition of the operations of CBRE Group in Central and Southeast Virginia. The transaction also positions Colliers Virginia a leading provider of asset services to General Services Administration-leased asset investor clients throughout the country, according to The combined company’s 340 professionals now oversee a 58-million-square-foot asset services portfolio and completed more than $1.8 billion in sale and lease transactions during 2018.

“The CBRE Richmond affiliate was the largest manager of federal government properties in the United States. Colliers was the second largest,” Kurt Stout, Executive Vice President Government Solutions at Colliers International, tells “Together the combined national portfolio is now 271 government-leased assets totaling nearly 21 million square feet.”

Jones Lang LaSalle Recognized for Diversity
Global real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) has been named by Forbes as one of America’s Best Employers for Diversity, according to PR News Wire. “Our ambition is to nurture a culture where diverse backgrounds, skills and ideas are embraced,” said Mary Bilbrey, Chief Human Resources Officer, Americas. “We’re honored to be recognized by Forbes as one of America’s Best Employers for Diversity and are committed to continually strengthening our culture of diversity.”

Keller Williams’ Former CEO Returns
Keller Williams Co-founder Gary Keller announced he will be resuming the role of CEO at the real estate company, effective immediately. Keller’s return to the company marks the departure of John Davis, who served as Keller Williams’ CEO and president since 2017. Keller’s return to the CEO role comes after the company spent 2018 making significant moves in the real estate technology arena, according to the Austin Business Journal. Last year, the company acquired startup SmarterAgent, which allows agents to create their own branded apps, and a platform that connects more than 650 multiple listing services. The company also partnered with artificial intelligence firm KUNGFU.AI to create a new data pool and explore future tech solutions for real estate agents.