Niël Cronje Exit Statement
Niël Cronje has travelled a journey of many achievements at all levels. Including becoming CEO of Engel & Völkers South Africa, he has also been involved in many other successful ventures and was awarded the Nedbank Property Professionals award, Mover and Shaker, not so long ago.
He entered the South African real estate scene in 1990 with the purchase of two Real Estate franchises, building on his foundations in agriculture and construction. After the success of these group-leading franchises, and the ownership of the Pretoria office of a national group, Cronje was appointed Executive Director of Jigsaw Holdings, a position he held until the early 2000s.
In 2003, Cronje partnered with Mathias Bode to open Engel & Völkers South Africa, the Master License Partner of the internationally successful German real estate brand. With franchises across South Africa, and specialist agents dealing in developments, residential property, agricultural property, commercial property and fractional ownership, Engel & Völkers South Africa, under Cronje’s leadership, established itself as the real estate brand of choice for discerning property buyers and sellers.
His decision to leave in January 2009 was not made lightly, “As all parents will tell you, once you’ve provided, nurtured and equipped your children for the future, you should be prepared to let them go, with gladness and not with sorrow. Just so my role of parenting Engel & Völkers SA has come to an end. I leave behind a team of hardworking, dynamic individuals in the very capable hands of newly appointed CEO, Craig Hutchison, formerly of Pangourne Properties Limited,” says Niel Cronje. “Hutchison, will carry the Southern Africa licenses to the next level,“ he adds.
It is Cronje’s keen sense of entrepreneurship that fuels his other interests and passions which include being the developer of Die Oog Retirement Estate, near Naboomspruit in the Waterberg. This five-year project, thought to be the largest of its kind in the country that focuses on active ageing and sensible retirement, has already attracted a host of buyers and investors alike.
A keen traveller, he also has interests abroad, where he is in partnership with Mathias Bode in growing the Engel & Völkers California license area. According to the 2009 Swanepoel Trends Report that offers 170 pages of analysis of the US residential real estate industry, Engel & Völkers has been ranked 5th of the top 10 trendsetters in real estate for 2008, due to its successful expansion especially in the US market.
Having found his niche in the development of retirement estates both locally and in California, Cronje says, “My passion for property will never cease and it is this that motivates me to continuously grow my development interests, particularly in the area of sensible retirement and active ageing.”
“Far too many people are not prepared for their retirement and an option like the sectional title Die Oog Retirement Estate, where you can expect up to 18% capital growth per annum, is a sound investment no matter what your age,” he concludes.