Why Commercial Brokerages Like Cushman & Wakefield and JLL Are Hiring Chief Data Officers

Capital One was the first company to ever hire a Chief Data Officer in 2002. Back then, many of the first businesses to appoint CDOs were financial institutions, partly because of increasing federal regulations that mandated stricter data governance protocols. Today, large companies in the insurance and banking industries are still the ones most likely to have chief data officers but the executive role has spread beyond those sectors. A 2021 study by PwC revealed that 21 percent of the top 2,500 largest publicly listed companies worldwide have a CDO, and almost half of those positions were filled in 2019 and 2020 alone. The number of hires for chief data officers has exploded by about 50 percent each year since 2016.

This makes sense if you think about how much data science and analytics have become a cornerstone of many aspects of our lives. The commercial real estate industry, as well, is starting to ramp up its use of data science and with it we are seeing the appointment of more chief data officers. JLL hired Yao Morin as CDO of JLL Technologies in June 2020, making her responsible for leading the firm’s global data strategy, product roadmap, and delivery. Yishai Lerner, co-chief executive officer at JLL Technologies, said at the time that “a comprehensive data strategy is key to JLL’s ambitions.”

Other prominent commercial real estate brokerages, such as Cushman & Wakefield and CBRE, have also appointed chief data officers. One of the main reasons they’re doing so is because the

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