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HOLLYWOOD, FLA. — CORFAC International announced three major initiatives to expand the organization internationally in order to grow its global affiliations.

Though these initiatives had been in development, the immediate move was spurred on by Jones Lang LaSalle’s $319 million pending acquisition of King Sturge, which has had a close relationship with CORFAC since 1995.

“Commercial real estate is not a ‘one-size fits all’ industry, and CORFAC International has a unique organizational structure and business culture that merits a prominent place among its peers,” said Charles Sevier, CORFAC International president, who is also a principal with Crump Commercial/CORFAC International in Memphis, Tenn. “The new initiatives are necessary steps to ensure and expand the health, prosperity and competitiveness of our organization in the global marketplace.”

Of CORFAC’s new initiatives, first and foremost Susan S. Newman has been hired as the organization’s new executive director, with her term becoming effective January 1, 2012. Newman starts work on a full-time basis in mid-November as part of a transition period with outgoing Executive Director Tom Bennett, who retires at the end of 2011 after 12 years.

CORFAC has also taken action to become a principal member in FIABCI, the International Real Estate Federation, which is based in Paris, France, and has operations in 65 countries and encompassing more than 120 professional associations. FIABCI-USA’s mission is to open the international community to its members on a local, national, and international level, so that they may develop a broad base of real estate contacts that will translate into increased business opportunities, which aligns with CORFAC’s position as one of the largest commercial real estate services organizations in the world and founded in 1989.

Now, in association with FIABCI, BDI in Mexico, five independent firms in Canada, Rios Commercial in Puerto Rico and Panama-based Latin American Corporate Property Services, CORFAC International has 80 offices in the Americas and a market reach to 65 countries worldwide.

Tying together the first two developments, Newman herself has extensive experience with FIABCI, establishing its U.S. Chapter (FIABCI-USA) in 1991 after its separate incorporation from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). As interim CEO of FIABCI in Paris in 2010, Ms. Newman worked with 20 international committees and advised the world president and leadership on protocols, procedures, statutes and strategy to effectively communicate and educate its 3,500 members in 65 countries.

Finally, CORFAC has formed an International Affiliation Task Force to identify and recruit prospective affiliates in key international markets. The task force initially comprises the Steering Group members of the CORFAC International Committee – Ray Lyons, SIOR, CCIM (Thomas L. Johnson Realty/CORFAC International), James Garibaldi (The Garibaldi Group/CORFAC International), and Steve Podolsky, SIOR (Podolsky Northstar CORFAC International). The task force will be supported by dozens of CORFAC principals who are members of the Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS (SIOR) and FIABCI.

Members of the task force have already had discussions with prospective affiliate firms in Europe, India and China.

“Despite the departure of [King Sturge], many of us believe that there is significant upside to new opportunities that will emerge from this change,” said Podolsky. “Foremost among them is the ability for CORFAC to globally align with independent entrepreneurial firms and brokers that are more like CORFAC, and with a clearer focus on owner/occupier work, tenant and landlord representation, and corporate services work.”

— Dan Marcec

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