The Year Ahead - West Midlands
Head of Real Assets
Legal & General Investment Management
Bill joined L&G in 2007 and is responsible for transforming its UK property fund management business into a global-reaching real assets platform. Operating in both the direct investment and lending markets, today it actively invests and manages over £23.2bn AUM across commercial property, private residential, infrastructure, property lending and corporate credit.
Since the beginning of 2015, L&G has worked closely with Government’s Regeneration Organisation to identify and invest in critical regeneration projects that support UK growth.
Bill previously held positions at RREEF, the Real Estate Fund Management business of Deutsche Bank, and Schroder Property Investment Management. From 2012 to 2015, Bill was part of the Presidential team at the British Property Federation.
He is currently Chair of the Property Industry Alliance (PIA), bringing together the UK’s leading property bodies to give them a stronger collective voice on issues such as policy, research and best practice. He also continues to play a role in Sir Michael Lyons’ Housing Review.
Rob Groves, Regional Director with Argent has over 30 years of planning, design and construction experience. Prior to joining Argent in 2007 he was an Equity Partner at a large multi-disciplinary consulting engineer practice. His experience includes mixed use residential, commercial, industrial schemes as well as major public sector infrastructure.
Rob has led schemes from feasibility through to planning, compulsory purchase, which includes expert witness work, detailed design and construction and lettings.
Currently Rob is responsible for the Paradise Circus project which is a joint venture with Birmingham City Council for a new commercial led mixed use development of up to 2 million sq/ft in Birmingham City centre.
Corporate Director, Economy
Birmingham City Council
As Corporate Director Economy, Birmingham City Council, Waheed has worked for the authority in various roles for 20 years. Waheed provides strategic leadership and direction across a wide portfolio, including the Council’s property portfolio, planning, regeneration, housing development, transportation and connectivity, highways and infrastructure, skills and employment, business development and inward investment.
Waheed led the major transformation of the city centre through the Big City Plan, bringing forward key projects including Birmingham Smithfield, Snowhill, Paradise and New Street redevelopment. He oversees £2.5bn public sector investment through the Enterprise Zone and HS2 Curzon masterplan.
Alongside leading Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust, one of the city’s largest housebuilders, Waheed led the Council to set up a series of commercial vehicles including InReach, the Council’s vehicle for building new homes across the city, and the development of an investment vehicle for commercial property to help deliver growth.
Waheed is a non-executive Director of Birmingham Airport Holdings Limited.
Waheed is a columnist for Estates Gazette, and a visiting Professor at Birmingham City University, he mentors a number of graduates demonstrating commitment to support the development of future professionals in the field.
Waheed was awarded an honorary Doctorate by Aston University in July 2017.
Tony Pidgley CBE
The Berkeley Group
He left school at 15 to form his own company in haulage and plant hire. At 19, he sold his business to Crest Homes and became a Building Director, before leaving to form Berkeley Homes in 1975. The company enjoyed rapid growth, floated on the Unlisted Securities Market in 1984, and then gained a full listing in 1985 as the Berkeley Group plc.
Tony has gained a national reputation for his pioneering approach to building homes and creating successful places. His judgement of the markets, willingness to put his personal capital at risk, and his drive and commercial flair have made Berkeley one of Britain's best residential developers. In 2011, Berkeley was ranked Britain's Most Admired Company across all sectors and is the only housebuilder to win the Queen's Award for Sustainable Development twice.
Tony is now part of Lord Heseltine's Thames Estuary Growth Commission. His expertise has been used to advise the recent Estate Regeneration Advisory Panel, the Mayor on the Outer London Commission and the Government on the disposal of public sector land. He is also a trustee of Open City London, a charity that champions architecture education, and President of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In 2016, he was nominated New Londoner of the Year in recognition of his contribution to housebuilding across the capital.
With a degree in Law and an MSc in International Transport, Maria has spent the last 20 years working in the UK.
Maria is currently Director for Midlands Connect, one of the largest and most successful partnership programmes in the country bringing together 23 Local Authorities and 9 Local Enterprise Partnerships across the Midlands from the Marches to the Wash.
In March 2017 the partnership published a 25 year pan-Midlands transport strategy for the region, therefore increasing economic activity and helping to power the Midlands Engine. Since its formation the partnership has secured over £17m support from government to accelerate the delivery of its transport priorities from 2020 and beyond.
More recently Maria has been working as Interim Director of the Midlands Engine, a partnership which aims to generate a step change in productivity, economic growth in the Midlands and help drive Britain’s post-Brexit growth.
As part of her previous role, Maria managed the WM Integrated Transport Authority’s input into the HS2 Hybrid Bill and was actively involved in master-planning activities around proposed HS2 Stations in the West Midlands.