Sam Caulton, chief financial officer of Re-Leased, on how he got started in the property industry, his top TV and book picks, his best and worst purchases and his number-one travel destination.
How did you join the property industry?
I moved to London from New Zealand in 2014 and was fortunate enough to get a job with Great Portland Estates based in London as their head of investment analysis and management information. It was an incredible experience with an amazing team, and it was where I fell in love with commercial real estate.
What does your job entail?
I am the CFO of Re-Leased, a cloud-based software business building a technology and data-led ecosystem specifically for commercial real estate. I spend most of my time on the operations, growth and strategy side of the business – another key part of my role. I consider it to be of the utmost importance, particularly in this environment, to set the business up for scale through digitisation, systems and processes.
What do you like most about the property industry?
The property industry serves so many people. In particular, commercial real estate is what brings folks together and it is the foundation of a thriving city or town.
And what do you dislike most about it?
Given it contributes around 40% to global emissions, the industry has a lot of work to do on its environmental footprint. It is really pleasing to see some key industry players already starting to take the lead on ESG. While this is a weakness for the industry at the moment, it also presents a huge opportunity.
What would you change about the property industry?
I think the industry would be 10 times more efficient if there was a higher adoption of best-in-class technologies.
What barriers or challenges have you overcome?
When the pandemic hit in March 2020, I was a relatively young CFO. It was scary and I felt well out of my depth. However, I worked out very fast that all CFOs were in the same position as me; none had seen anything like this. I leant on my experience and trusted myself to thrive in adversity. Looking back, it has been the most fulfilling journey of my career, and I feel 10 times stronger for it.
What are you most proud of in your career?
My drive and resilience to continue to make things better and drive value for the companies and stakeholders I am involved with.
What do you value in people?
Resilience and enthusiasm to solve big problems and come up with new ideas.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?
Work for a great business that has or is moving away from the ‘old way of doing things’ to the new way of doing things. Questions I would ask are: what is your ESG strategy? How technology-enabled is your business? How do you interact with your tenants/customers? Do you have a data and analytics strategy?