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).
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.