2018: a year to remember
A historic year for the Group
To successfully carry out our Group’s vision, it takes people to set the pace. Our leading teams work together to make Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield thrive. Our passionate, talented and committed people are the essence of what makes our Group successful.
The Supervisory Board exercises permanent oversight and control over the Management Board and the general affairs of the Company as provided by law, the Articles of Association and its internal charters. The Supervisory Board has eleven members appointed for a three-year term.
Chairman of the Supervisory Board and Chairman of the Governance and Nomination Committee
The Management Board is Unibail-Rodamco SE’s collegial decision-making body and is overseen by the Supervisory Board. The Management Board members are collectively responsible for the Company’s management and general course of business. The Management Board’s mission consists in developing and executing the Company’s strategy, effectively structuring and staffing the Company to ensure its efficient functioning, achieving the projected financial results and communicating these results in the best manner.
The Senior Management Team is the coordinating body for Unibail-Rodamco SE and WFD Unibail-Rodamco N.V. responsible for the definition of their shared strategy and their business policy and for providing advice on key business decisions.
Europe confirmed its robust performance throughout the year, delivering our promises to visitors and retailers. Building on Unibail-Rodamco and Westfield’s joined forces, we built a new Commercial Partnership platform to create memorable and innovative consumer brand experiences while generating a substantial revenue stream.
Onboarding the US teams to the new Group’s organisation and strategy was the highlight of 2018. With our powerful teams serving an exceptional portfolio that welcomes emblematic retailers and innovative concepts, we are fully poised to further develop our brand and our business in the US.
This year has been a very special one with the creation of our new Group. Everyone’s engagement has been impressive. For the last 9 months, we have been building a common culture based on our energy and our drive for excellence. We are one organisation, and more importantly, one team.
2018 was a historic year for the company with the run up to and the closing of the Westfield transaction on June 7. By combining Unibail-Rodamco and Westfield, we have created the world’s premier global developer and operator of flagship shopping destinations.
2018 was a year of excellent results. We closed the acquisition of Westfield, made solid progress on the integration and grew our adjusted recurring earnings per share by 7.2%, exceeding guidance. The year was also very successful in terms of asset sales: we disposed of €2 Bn of assets at an average premium of 8.9% above book value at a pace well above expectations, reflecting the quality of our portfolio.
2018 was about succeeding on the critical work of integrating Westfield and Unibail-Rodamco, while ensuring the successful day-to-day management of our operations.
We wrote a number of impressive stories in the last year, these stories are our projects, places that integrate in the local community, buildings grounded in the cities, homes to our visitors. Our strategic vision of building mixed-use projects keeps growing within our Group and we systematically review each of our key locations to study their densification potential.
In 2018, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield raised circa €10 bn of medium to long term debt and hybrid, at attractive conditions, securing the funding of the Westfield acquisition and of its development projects. In parallel, the integration of finance teams has been progressing well with the achievement of the first 5-year Business Plan and the first Full-Year closing of the combined Group.
Our teamwork is the force behind our ambitious projects. We attract the most talented people from various disciplines and backgrounds, who dare with vision and agility. We are committed individuals, pushing our boundaries to continuously aim for excellence.
We are building a sustainable future for our business and the communities in which we operate. We create better places where people can get together, shop, work and share memorable experiences. Our activities contribute to shaping the cities of tomorrow.
Our projects are ambitious and our collective power is the force behind them. We are a team of committed individuals, and we push our boundaries to continuously exceed expectations.
We seek the most talented people from different disciplines and backgrounds who demonstrate drive and creativity. We empower our team members and give them a high level of responsibility early on in their careers.
Discover the experiences shared by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield team members.
Adrien develops the communication strategy within the Group, to inform, engage and inspire employees.
“At internal communications, we support the creation of an inclusive company culture, and make sure that employees across all countries are aligned with the Group’s strategy and activities, and are inspired by its vision. Working towards the launch of the new Group and the months of integration that followed encompassed exactly this aspiration, and undoubtedly constituted the highlight of my year.
The launch of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield on June 7th particularly stood out. With this bold move, we had to be just that – bold - in our thinking, our proposals, our solutions and most of all, in the way we carried out our communication, to engage all of the new Group’s team members. Together with our internal stakeholders in the US and the UK, we set up a message that spoke to everyone. It was a once in a lifetime experience!
The launch was only the beginning of a long-term process of integration, for which internal communication is critical. From a blank page, we could completely rethink the way we communicate. We feel we are actors of change for the success of the new Group!”
Alok oversees all financial reports of the Operations department in the United Kingdom
“In 2016, I was more than enthusiastic to join Westfield. With a background in Retail Real Estate Finance, I was well aware of the company’s prestigious reputation. Little did I know that a short time later, I would be part of something even bigger.
At the end of 2017, I was promoted from Financial Controller Leasing to Financial Controller of Operations. 2018 was all about commencing and consolidating that role. I had a larger and more senior team to manage, was dealing with different stakeholders and took on new responsibilities, such as looking for opportunities to drive superior growth.
In 2018, we all did a lot together. From a management perspective, I recruited two people who are now vital to my team, and also promoted two of my team members - the future looks bright for us.
My major projects were of course marked by the Westfield acquisition – and what an exciting experience that was. We work with the legacy Unibail-Rodamco teams to make sure that the process was a success. The 5-year business plan was particularly interesting – from visiting new teams and creating synergies, to understanding KPIs for the new Group – it was a great learning curve.”
Anton manages the Donau Zentrum shopping centre and is also in charge of applying the Group’s operational activities in Austria.
“My journey with Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield started in 2006 at Rodamco, as Investment Asset Manager. Over time, I enriched my professional life with the many opportunities that crossed my path.
Following the acquisition by Unibail, I took on an operational role in 2008 as Shopping Centre Manager at Shopping City Süd that became the main shopping and leisure destination in Austria. In 2013, I became responsible for the Austria region as Head of Shopping Centre Management. I was well equipped to apply my knowledge on a country level, while keeping my initial position in parallel. A milestone of 2018 was my leaving Shopping City Süd after ten years, to become Shopping Centre Manager at Donau Zentrum.
What was not an easy task in the beginning ended up being extremely rewarding – tackling an exciting project with a fresh look, a new team and a new mindset. This switch pushed me out of my comfort zone and challenged me onto a new level. In retrospect, it was a great move and I am happy that I dared to take the plunge.”
As part of the development team, Carolina works on future shopping centre projects of the Group in Spain.
“I started at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield as part of the European Graduate Programme (EGP) in 2017, a great opportunity to develop skills and responsibilities through mobility across functions. It was a deep learning experience that gave me a 360° view of the business. I learned to look at things from a different perspective, which has made me both a better professional and a better person.
A definite highlight of 2018 for me was the EGP annual seminar. In June, 42 of us gathered for a week of skill-learning and cultural exchanges. I met people from various nationalities and backgrounds, and got a real sense of the diversity of our teams. It was a great opportunity to share best practices and forge long-lasting relationships with current and former EGPs across the Group. I now have a strong network of people that support and cheer me on through successes and challenges, one that will undoubtedly follow me throughout my career.
We also had the opportunity to attend the Day One event in Paris. It was inspiring to be part of this historic moment for the Group as it created a great feeling of motivation. Today, I work with the best of teams on extremely interesting projects. I’m excited about the future and the opportunities that it holds.”
Ingvar is responsible for the financial performance and value creation of Fisketorvet - Copenhagen Mall in Denmark.
“2018 was about new professional experiences and learnings. I was offered the opportunity to move from the Operating Management team in Germany to the Fisketorvet team in the Nordics, first for a one-year assignment in the Development team, and eventually to the Operating Management department. I started a new and exciting chapter within URW!
Working in a highly international project team with very diverse internal and external stakeholders is exciting and rewarding, and encourages everyone to explore new ways of thinking. At the same time, the functional switch to the Development team helps me to see the business from yet another angle.
This is what I really appreciate about working at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. Everyone is open to change and we are truly encouraged to seize new professional opportunities. This broad-mindedness helps to foster exchange and learning between different functions and regions. Our company culture is such that everyone has the global picture in mind and we work towards it collectively. We have high aspirations and the Group provides us with a great platform to learn and push ourselves.”
Karen is in charge of new retail tenants, to help them on design specifications and new store openings.
“For me, 2018 was a year of transformation and change. I began the year in my longtime role as Senior General Manager of Westfield Valley Fair – our flagship centre in Silicon Valley – but during Q2 was given the opportunity to take on a new challenge and transition to our Los Angeles corporate office to assume the role of Senior Vice President for Tenant Coordination.
I had first imagined that leaving Valley Fair right in the midst of the property’s ambitious $1.1 billion redevelopment would be tough – both for me and the team. However, handing over the reins of the centre’s operations to my extremely capable deputy and her team was tremendously reassuring. Seeing how they successfully took over and ran with the project was a definite highlight for me. Their success has been a validation – not just of their own undeniable talents – but of the planning we had done together ahead of time and of our entire Group’s emphasis on teamwork, collective decision-making, and career advancement opportunities.
These same aspirations are now guiding day-to-day interactions with my new Tenant Coordination team. Together, we are pursuing an incredibly exciting agenda to completely rethink the future of store design and experiences.”
Marcin oversees financial operations for Poland.
“I have worked at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield for over 14 years, holding different positions within the Finance department. I have been Director of Finance for Poland for five years now.
One might think that when working in the same position for a long time, things could become repetitive. Yet from my perspective, each day is different from the next. From the merger between Unibail and Rodamco in 2007 to the acquisition of Westfield, every year has been a reinvention. Given the dynamism of the company and the quality of our portfolio, there’s always something new and exciting to be part of.
2018 was particularly interesting for us in Poland, from successfully implementing the Sunday trading ban to efficiently managing the fiscal integration of a sound and attractive portfolio. This is what defines Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield for me. We are constantly in motion, implementing new processes and looking for new solutions. This drives me to do my best and to keep pushing boundaries.”
Molly oversees the strategic and day-to-day activities of Westfield Topanga & The Village shopping centre.
“At Westfield Topanga & The Village, we dedicated a huge part of the past year to making incremental improvements to the personalised guest services we offer. We believe that providing a little extra measure of convenience – or even a little extra personal touch – makes all the difference in converting a one-time, or infrequent visitor into a loyal, regular customer.
We have done everything from bringing in skateboard lockers for children and teenagers to enhancing our restroom facilities, providing language translation services, and hosting “food crawl” events to showcase our great restaurants’ cuisine. Perhaps the most successful amenity we introduced over the past year has been our ultra-sleek luxury suite where our most fashion-conscious guests can take advantage of one-on-one styling sessions, customised wardrobe recommendations, and personal shopping services.
Finally, I cannot leave out how proud I was that Westfield Topanga & The Village unveiled California’s largest retail-anchored solar panel array in 2018. Our new 15,000-panel, 4-megawatt array can now generate more than 6.6 gigawatt hours (GWh) of clean, renewable energy – or an amount sufficient to power 730 average-sized family homes on an annual basis. ”
Pavlina manages talent development, recruitment and social initiatives in the Central Europe and Austria.
“I am celebrating ten years with the Group in March this year. For me, working at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield means learning new skills and taking on new projects on a daily basis. Every morning I come to work expecting the unexpected. The announcement of the Westfield deal, for instance, came as a real surprise. Besides, the acquisition opened up many opportunities for mobility, which is crucial for us at Human Resources.
2018 was particularly special for me because I was supported by an amazing team. They look out for and support each other. People here do not simply want to succeed, they aim at exceeding expectations. It is a great pleasure, and a real motivation, to work with such dedicated, driven and inspiring individuals. Another source of pride is the teams’ engagement in the Group’s social initiatives. This year again, we have achieved great things together, like helping underprivileged people find jobs through our job dating events, or renovating Kindergarten in Prague, Single Mother’s House in Warsaw and SOS Kinderdorf in Vienna.”
Rachel develops and carries out marketing activities, offering retailers the best communication platforms at Westfield World Trade Center.
“At Westfield World Trade Center, the past year has been one of self-reflection and self-discovery. We have taken the opportunity to rethink, reimagine and revisit what this property means to the local Lower Manhattan community and New York City, as well as to our company.
The potential of this destination is immeasurable – more than 100 million people come here annually – and we are uniquely positioned to inspire our visitors and make a difference in people’s lives.
In 2018, during our Beauty & Balance space marketing initiative, we partnered with UNICEF on a community-wide mural painting allowing our visitors to paint an artistic expression capturing messages of hope, empowerment, and humanity. The mural was then sent to a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh. The Rohingya children were so moved by this gift from New York that they, in turn, painted a response mural containing their artistic expressions of their hopes for the future, their dreams, and what peace means to them. Their mural was sent to New York and installed at Westfield World Trade Center – making us part of a global conversation of inspiration and connection.”
Raphaël advises and executes on the Group’s investment and development strategy
“2018 was a year of discovery. Through the launch of a new “mixed-use” business unit, my team’s scope was extended to include retail spaces, housing and hotels along with office development projects. This was quite a radical change, as we are dealing with a variety of markets, ways of thinking and doing business, while bringing together different products under one umbrella. Our scope is now much more international as well. We support and assist local teams on mixed-use projects such as Westfield Stratford City in the UK, Westfield Hamburg in Germany and the expansion of Fisketorvet in Denmark. I now have the opportunity to share know-how and best practices with the US & UK teams and especially learn about hotel and residential, which are new markets for me.
I manage a very diverse portfolio. This is exciting because a residential development project in Sweden will be carried out very differently from an office project in France. Yet this makes my job all the more interesting. As Senior Investment Manager, I wear many different hats, from market analysis to negotiation and commercialisation, working closely with all departments, from legal to development. I am constantly switching from one market to the other, engaging with new people, and adapting to other mindsets and processes. I keep on learning every day.”
Shelly oversees and applies the Group’s shopping centre strategy in the United States.
“For those of us involved in centre operations in the US, a key focus during much of the past year has been the process of aligning and integrating with our new European partners as we set common strategies for the future.
Interestingly, as the year went on, we quickly came to realise that, more than one region imposing its views on another, we actually all had an opportunity to tap into a larger menu of best practices, experiences, and areas of expertise than we ever had before. That realisation has been exhilarating.
2018 was an intense year: we had to roll the business integration process whilst making sure we gave the utmost attention to detail in our day-to-day centre management. In fact, our prioritisation of customer service has never been more pronounced than it is today, and all of our customer-facing employees - including concierge staff, brand ambassadors, centre management, valet attendants, security officers, and housekeeping personnel – are now trained in our industry-leading “Service With Style” customer service programme designed to provide our guests with the finest level of hospitality imaginable. Providing this level of service to our customers is precisely what sets our brand apart from our competitors, both physical and digital.”