John Bywater

After careers at Leeds City Development office and the Burton Group (Arcadia), he was appointed managing director of Burton Property Trust. He subsequently joined Donaldsons Chartered Surveyors as Head of Retail. In 1997 he was appointed managing director of Hammerson (UK) Properties

responsible for a retail and office portfolio valued in excess of £5bn. New retail developments included West Quay Southampton ,The Oracle Reading and The Bull Ring Birmingham ,all of which won U.K. and International Awards.

Following retirement he took up the post of director at Caddick Developments Ltd. He sits on a number of boards, including Canal and River Trust, Low Carbon Workplace Ltd, Realis Estates, Opera North and is Chairman of the Leeds BID( Business Improvement District).

60 seconds with John (Questions and Answers)

1. What are the top three things you would like to achieve in the next five years?

  • Get my last 2 children educated, independent and OFF MY HANDS!
  • Ensure the work that we are doing now in a tough market bears fruit ready for the upturn.
  • Play golf on the top ten courses in Scotland and Ireland

2. What is the key to a successful development?

Development has to be relevant, lasting, offer a sense of place and purpose, admired and welcomed by both the community and occupiers, and make a 20% return!

3. Describe your perfect team for a development?

Team needs to be a mixture of ambition, skill, flamboyance, realism and above all a client who listens, but decides.

4. Favourite development you have delivered?

  • The Bull Ring, Birmingham, because it had everything mentioned in 2 above.
  • Also working in partnership with Land Securities and Henderson was a great priviledge and more fun than I want to admit to.

5. What is your best personal achievement?

Bringing up 5 children and remaining solvent.

6. What is your favourite past time?

Anything that involves golf, music and the Yorkshire Dales.

7. What is your favourite quote?

“Don`t weep for me now, nor grieve for me never, `cos I`m doing nuthing for ever and ever!” (On an old grave stone in a Dales village.)

8. Which charity do you support and why?

Children in Need, or any charity depending on which of my friends is running/swimming/hiking/cycling etc.

9. Who inspires you and why?

Every single one of the Paralympics athletes.

10. Who’s influenced your career most and why?

No one person. We take influences from the best and worst, the good and the bad and form our judgements accordingly.

11. What’s the best piece of advice you could give to someone?

Always go the extra mile, with a smile.

12. What is the thing you like best about your work?

Meeting and working with a huge variety of people trying to create something worthwhile.

13. What’s on your desk?

A computer, a mug of tea, an i-phone, and a Simple User Manual for everything except the tea.

14. What’s your favourite holiday destination?

Anywhere my family likes.

15. What’s your favourite gadget?

It`s not yet invented, but a gadget for finding golf balls in long grass.