De Jong-Douglas’s new Asia role cancelled as expansion plans halted

ProLogis’s head of central and eastern Europe, Michael de Jong-Douglas, has left just a month before he was due to take up a new leadership role in Asia.

He is the first senior director to leave since the US shed developer last month announced a freeze on expansion after years of aggressive growth in an attempt to stop its share price tumbling further. Shares in ProLogis fell by 95% over the last year and by 16% on Monday to $3.20, giving it a market capitalisation of $850m (£570m).

De Jong-Douglas: will look for role in Asia after sabbatical
De Jong-Douglas: will look for role in Asia after sabbatical

ProLogis’s change in strategy coincided with the resignation of CEO and chairman Jeff Schwartz and his replacement at the helm by former president and chief operating officer Walter Rakowich.

De Jong-Douglas said: ‘The job I had was to move to Singapore and look at new markets and now ProLogis is not looking at new markets, so there is no position available.’ De Jong-Douglas left the company on 30 November. He had been responsible for 135 staff across eight offices in five countries: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

His duties will be assumed by Ben Bannatyne, who joined from Jones Lang LaSalle to work with De Jong-Douglas in July. Under the original plan, de Jong-Douglas was to share his role with Bannatyne until the new year as part of a handover before he moved to Asia. Instead, he will take a sabbatical for at least six months before seeking another job.

‘If there is an opportunity today it will be there in six months,’ he said.

After his sabbatical De Jong-Douglas is expected to look for a job in Asia, where he and his family will be travelling, although he said that property investors should still buy in central and eastern Europe.

He said: ‘The business fundamentals and growth in central and eastern Europe are still strong.

‘My personal opinion is that some developers are overreacting in stopping development. I think they should keep going.’

‘I think smaller developers with opportunistic money will see this time as attractive to buy,’ he said.