With offices in more than 60 countries and more than 70,000 employees, CBRE is, as of 2015, the world’s largest real estate advisory firm.

With revenue of more than $US9 billion (in 2014), CBRE is ranked at 321 on the Fortune 500, and continues to grow year on year.

The company covers all areas of the real estate business including corporate services, mortgage banking, development services, valuations, advice on sales and leasing, investment management, and research and consulting services. The CEO Magazine spoke to the CEO of CBRE Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Martin Samworth, about the global real estate giant.

The CEO Magazine: What was your professional background leading up to your appointment as CEO of CBRE?

Martin: My background goes back almost to before I started work, actually, because when I was trying to make a decision about what career path to take, one thing that appealed to me about the property industry is that it’s something that touches everybody—it’s something that is relevant to everybody. I thought going into an industry that had those attributes was a sensible thing to do. At the time, I didn’t realise quite what a sophisticated industry it was, because I saw it through the lens of an 18 year old. So I did a degree in estate management, which meant that I became qualified as a chartered surveyor, and then I started out at a firm in London. I was an assistant to the senior partner of the firm, and it was an amazing learning experience.

One of the benefits of that, because of the way the business was organised, was that I was very much thrown in the deep end, and the learning curve was immense.

For the next 10 to 15 years, I was then immersed in investment markets and development finance.