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Colliers Singapore MD Dennis Yeo quits

Veteran leaving for senior regional role at CBRE in the industrial services space

Sources told BT Mr Yeo tendered his resignation last week and will join rival firm CBRE in October


DENNIS Yeo, managing director of Colliers International Singapore, has become the latest to leave the firm, in the wake of a string of departures from the property consultancy's retail, industrial and office services teams.

Industry sources told The Business Times that Mr Yeo tendered his resignation last week. He is expected to join rival firm CBRE in October, taking on a senior regional position in the industrial space sector.

Both CBRE and Colliers are likely to announce Mr Yeo's departure soon. But their expected announcement was somewhat pre-empted over the weekend by a brief update in Mr Yeo's LinkedIn profile, stating he had resigned from Colliers and was joining CBRE. The LinkedIn profile was subsequently "updated" again to reflect Mr Yeo's Colliers designation.

Sources told BT that CBRE's hiring of Mr Yeo is in line with its aspirations to grow the industrial services space. "CBRE has been looking to grow that business for a while but it is a niche business and it's not easy to get the right people," one market source said.

Mr Yeo, who has worked for Colliers for over 21 years, was overseas when contacted by BT and declined to comment.

As managing director of Colliers Singapore, he oversaw the firm's overall operations here, and headed both Asia industrial services and Asia investment sales. From 2008 to 2009, Mr Yeo was managing Colliers' China offices comprising offices in Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Taiwan. He was also briefly interim CEO for Asia at Colliers until recently.

Colliers International has become a poaching ground of late in the Singapore property consultancy circles.

It lost all three directors of its office services team in February to Savills Singapore. Last month, it lost five industrial brokers to CBRE, including executive directors Brenda Ong and Rimon Ambarchi, and four members of its retail team to JLL's retail agency team.

All this took place against the backdrop of several leadership changes at Colliers International. In February, the firm appointed David Hand as its new CEO for Asia-Pacific to replace Piers Brunner, who resigned last August.

At the global level, Colliers' president and chief executive Doug Frye resigned in June soon after Colliers' listing on both Nasdaq and the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Consequently, Jay Hennick - Colliers chairman and founder of Colliers' parent company FirstService Corp - became CEO at Colliers, while global chief operating officer Dylan Taylor took on the additional role of president.

CBRE has meanwhile been ramping up its capacity in industrial and logistics services, though its traditional strengths lie in office and retail. With the addition of the five industrial brokers from Colliers, its industrial and logistics team has grown to 10 people. CBRE managing director of brokerage (Singapore) Moray Armstrong said last month that CBRE felt it was "the right time" to invest in building its service capability in industrial services.

Manufacturing companies are increasingly looking to optimise their approach to industrial space while sectors such as logistics, e-commerce, data centres and pharmaceutical are active in expanding their presence in Singapore, he was quoted as saying.