Property Council elects new president

Two national vice presidents have also been elected

Property Council elects new president


By Mina Martin

The Property Council of Australia has elected Michael O’Brien (pictured above right), managing director of QIC real estate, as its new national president, to drive real estate investment and business strategy for QIC.

The 30-year property industry veteran takes the reins from David Harrison, Charter Hall managing director and group CEO.

Elected as national vice presidents of Property Council Australia were Tarun Gupta, Stockland managing director and CEO, and Deborah Coakley, Dexus EGM of funds management.

Gupta joined Stockland in 2021, bringing with him more than 25 years of property industry experience, including at Lendlease, where he was most recently group chief financial officer.

Coakley, meanwhile, is responsible for managing Dexus’s funds management business. She has been a change leader across the property sector, human resources, and in consulting, having worked at Deloitte and Qantas, and as a past president of the Property Council capital markets division.

O’Brien said he was honoured to be elected president of the Property Council of Australia and he was committed to further elevating the organisation’s respected advocacy work.

“It is a privilege to be elected by my industry peers to this important role, and to represent an industry that creates more jobs for Australians than any other,” O’Brien said. “The property sector shapes how we live, how we work, and our opportunities, and it underpins the strength of our economy, providing jobs in every city, region, and town in Australia.

"I look forward to promoting our thought leadership on real solutions to Australia’s housing, planning, investment and net zero challenges. As a property champion of change, I will also ensure the increasing and welcome diversity of our industry is reflected in our leadership on creating inclusive workforces and workplaces.”

Mike Zorbas (pictured above left), Property Council of Australia CEO, said O’Brien brings to the team deep insight from across the sector and around the country.

O’Brien “is a change agent whose interest in tackling the housing supply and affordability crisis, planning our cities better, smarter investment settings and showcasing the globally recognised sustainability credentials of Australia’s property sector, is inspiring,” Zorbas said.

Both O’Brien and Zorbas acknowledged Harrison’s contributions to the Property Council.

Harrison “successfully championed the industry and the Property Council through one of the most challenging periods in recent memory,” O’Brien said. He “and our board worked tirelessly so the sector could underpin Australia’s economic resilience through the pandemic, working with governments to keep tenants viable, to keep construction open, and to implement the confidence-creating HomeBuilder program.”

He said that contribution was Harrison’s legacy that served as the engine room for job creation as the industry worked through the recovery and showed itself to be the engine room for job creation.

Harrison “is a compelling leader,” Zorbas said. “His insight and passion to advance the industry are remarkable. We are grateful for his impressive commitment and achievements on our behalf and will continue to prize both in the years ahead.” 

Harrison will assume the role of immediate past president and will remain a member of the Property Council board for a further two years.

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