Alistair Elliott: Knight Frank’s new chief

Nick Thomlinson, the driving force behind one of the world’s top prime property brands, is to be replaced as Group Chairman and Senior Partner by Alistair Elliott when he retires in April.

Elliott (50) has been heading up Knight Frank’s commercial divisions since 2006 but has already voiced strong ambitions for the partnership’s residential operations. He joined the firm’s Graduate Scheme in 1983, rising up the ranks to become a salaried partner in 1989 and a proprietary partner in 1993.

He will be succeeded in the commercial division by John Snow.

Thomlinson, who has been Senior Partner since 2004, has been a global talisman for the UK’s prime property sector around the world, steering the company’s remarkable expansion from a Home Counties estate agency into a global behemoth. He joined Knight Frank in 1974 in London (also on the Graduate Scheme), moving to Hong Kong ten years later to head of things out there for two years, before returning to Blighty to open the London Dockland’s agency office. He jetted off again in 1995, this time to Mumbai to set up the firm’s Indian offering, and became Head of Global Residential in 2000.

Nick Thomlinson: “I have been privileged to lead one of the world’s great property firms and have thoroughly enjoyed doing so. My tenure has seen the market swing between several extremes and it has certainly never been dull.

“Knight Frank has now expanded to become a truly global business, and is a market leader in both residential and commercial, and I am proud to say firmly independent.

“I strongly believe that Alistair is just the man to take the firm to the next stage of growth. He has been a tremendous representative of Knight Frank since his first day at the firm. I leave the partnership in very capable hands.”

Alistair Elliott: “Having seen so much change over the past 30 years, I am honoured to be given the opportunity to take on the role of senior partner. Whilst the economy will undoubtedly throw up demanding market conditions in the short to medium term, the Knight Frank business is in great shape to tackle the challenges that lie ahead.

“I have huge confidence in our teams in the UK and globally and I very much look forward to working with them in developing their plans. Our brand is, to my mind, one of the strongest in the sector, not least because of our supremacy in the residential markets, and I intend to develop this strength aggressively while maintaining its integrity.

“Nick has been an enormous asset for the firm and I do not underestimate the size of the shoes I have to fill. Nick takes great credit for steering the business through the recent downturn.”