Day One Speakers
Keynote Speaker – Karren Brady
Baroness Brady of Knightsbridge CBE is one of the most influential, high profile and respected female business leaders in the UK. Voted Business Woman of the Year, Ultimate Entrepreneur and rated among the 50 most inspirational people in the world, she is passionate about business and the promotion of women in business in the UK.
Karren is CEO of West Ham United Football Club, as well as Senior Non-Executive Director of Syco Entertainment, a company jointly owned by Simon Cowell and Sony and leading retail multinational Taveta Investments, owner of global brands including Topshop.
Karren Brady was made a life peer by the Prime Minister, entering the House of Lords in 2014 and received a CBE from the Queen for her services to business, entrepreneurship and women in business.
Born in Edmonton, North London, Karren began her career in advertising sales straight after leaving school. In 1993, aged just 23, she was appointed Managing Director of Birmingham City Football Club when the club was in administration. Four years later, she became the youngest Managing Director of a UK plc, when she floated the club on the London Stock Exchange.
Having turned Birmingham City around, Karren sold the club in 2009 for £82,000,000. She joined the board of West Ham United in January 2010 and negotiated a successful bid for the club’s move to London’s iconic 60,000-seat Olympic Stadium. Under her leadership, West Ham has become one of the five fastest-growing brands in world football.
Karren is one of the most sought-after speakers in the world and has worked in over 30 countries, motivating and advising global businesses through her award-winning speeches. She is a true inspiration, appearing on the BBC’s The Apprentice and is a leading voice, contributor and commentator on business affairs and news programmes.
Rennie is the current CEO of the Self Storage Association UK, having previously been the CEO of the Australasian Self Storage Association for over 9 years. Rennie has extensive knowledge of the self storage industry across the world, from the developing Asian markets through to the birthplace of self storage in the USA.
While with the Australasian Self Storage Association he introduced a range of simplified standard licence agreements for the different types of storage arrangements used by the industry, developed an industry marketing guide, customised self storage staff training, a workplace safety manual and demand study for the industry. He was also part of the judging panel for the self storage industry awards across Australia, NZ and Asia and has spoken at numerous self storage events around the world.
Rennie has an MBA from Deakin University as well as a Masters of Applied Science (Environmental Health) and has over 15 years experience working in industry associations. He enjoys riding his mountain bike, listening to music and swimming.
Ollie Saunders is the Lead Director for Alternatives across EMEA at JLL, where he has specialised throughout his career since the mid 1990s in self storage from a valuation, brokerage and corporate finance perspective, enabling him and his team to provide first-hand transactional experience with valuation professionalism.
He leads a team of more than 10 surveyors and data analysts working across Europe in more than 12 countries, and has transacted a number of sales of self storage assets across EMEA, as well as equity raises.
He joined JLL in 2014 from Deloitte where he was an equity partner and the head of valuation. Ollie co-authored the UK Self Storage Association Survey between 2009 and 2014, and the FEDESSA Survey since 2014, and also authored the RICS guide on valuation methodology for self storage and other alternative asset types.
Duncan Bell joined Shurgard in April 2009 as the Market Manager for the UK. Throughout 2013 Duncan was also Market Manager for The Netherlands before being promoted to VP of operations. He is also currently a member of the SSA UK Board of management.
Duncan joined Shurgard from the travel industry where he worked for Travelbag as Sales Director and then Head of Travelbag from 2006-2008. Prior to that Duncan worked as General Manager for Trailfinders in Manchester, Glasgow and London from 1992-2006.
Duncan holds a BA (Hons) in Economic History from the University of Sheffield.
Since joining the sector over 20 years ago, Paul has established/acquired 5 different self-storage brands/portfolios, selling 4 portfolios on to Trade or Private Equity buyers.
His historic typical operating model has been to develop/acquire an average of 4/5 large (circa 70,000 sq. ft) stores, growing revenue rapidly, before selling after an average of 4 to 5 years.
Whilst Paul considers himself just a “hands on” small sized operator, the 21 stores covering nearly 1.5m sq. ft, across the 5 portfolios that he has established/acquired/operated/sold, would be valued at over £150m at current values.
Working with his family, he currently operates 3 Storage World facilities in the UK and 8 EasyBox facilities in Italy, with aspirations to develop these portfolios in the longer term into medium/large portfolios.
In his spare time Paul is an industry Non-Exec/consultant and a past Chairman and President of the UKSSA and FEDESSA respectively and is a Director of the SSAAsia.
Along with his brother John, David has spent over 30 years investing in and running businesses in the UK property sector, predominately through his role as Partner in The Milton Group and as joint owner and Managing Director in the Group’s various associated Limited Companies, in particular ABC Selfstore in London.
David was one of the first operators in London and has a long history with the industry. He was a previous chairman of the SSA UK and FEDESSA.
In 2018 he facilitated the sale of ABC Selfstore to Shurgard for £50M.
Michael is often referred to as the “godfather” of self storage in Europe. Few people have a better understanding of the industry and are as willing to share their experiences with other operators.
After studying International Business in Seattle, Michael moved to Brussels in 1992 to investigate the possibilities of starting a self storage business in Europe. Michael negotiated with Shurgard in the USA to form a partnership with the aim of building Shurga’rds presence in Europe. Michael´s initial responsibility in the partnership was to manage the developments in Belgium. In 1997 he moved to Sweden to start up the business there. When starting up Denmark in 2001 (Shurgards then 6th market), Michael became Managing Director for both Sweden and Denmark.
Michael left Shurgard in 2005 coming back into the industry in 2007 as the founder of SelStor AB, a Swedish Self Storage developer and operator. In December 2012, the 8 facility portfolio around Stockholm, was sold to Pelican Self Storage. Michael left the company at the end of October 2013 and in 2015 he co-founded 24 Storage which now operates 22 stores in Sweden. Michael was one of the founders FEDESSA and remains a board member as well as the chair of the Self Storage Association Sweden.
Dean Booty is the founder and owner of Stor More Self Storage and Beverly 24 Storage in East Yorkshire, England. He led a range of successful businesses prior to joining the self-storage industry seven years ago.
He attributes his success to focusing on the customer, not the competition. Dean’s passion is understanding the needs, wants and expectations of his customers and serving them to a higher standard. He tells his customers that his store is a “Secure hotel for all their stuff”.
Travis Morrow’s career in the self storage industry began in January 2003 as a finance intern for National Self Storage Management, Inc in the USA. During that time, he developed a prototype for a competitive analysis database used to track competition trends for all NSS markets. In January 2006, Mr. Morrow was promoted to Vice President of the company and President in 2017.
He was and still is responsible for the acquisition, development, and growth of National Self Storage into the future. National Storage are embracing developments in technology allowing them to expand their business using individualised automated access systems and a complete online sales and move in procedure.
James (Jim) Gibson
Jim Gibson was a member of the founding management team of Big Yellow Self Storage (“BY”) in 1998. Big Yellow Self Storage opened its first store in Richmond in May 1999 and 20 years later owns and manages 75 Big Yellow self storage centres in the UK across 4.7 million sq ft NLA, with a focus on London /SE and larger urban conurbations. Big Yellow also manages 22 Armadillo stores across a 1.0 m sq ft platform in a fund in which it has a 20% interest. Big Yellow is listed as a REIT on the London Stock Exchange in the FTSE 250 and has a market capitalisation of approximately £1.5 billion.
Jim originally qualified as a chartered accountant and worked in professional services with Arthur Andersen & Co. where he specialised in the property and construction sectors, before leaving in 1989. He then worked in real estate at Heron Property Corporation until 1994, before joining Nick Vetch and Philip Burks at Edge Properties. Edge was a developer of and investor in retail warehousing, listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1996 and subsequently sold to Granchester Properties PLC in 1998. Together, they then founded Big Yellow. Jim is also a Non-Executive Director and shareholder in Moby Self-Storage in Brazil, Anyjunk Ltd a waste removal platform and Stasher.com ,a left luggage platform . He is also an advisor to and investor in a Prime Self-Storage development fund in Australia. He is married to Michelle, has three daughters and is a Trustee of The Big Yellow Foundation and Trustee and Chair of London Children’s Ballet.
Martin is the founder and CEO of MyPlace-Selfstorage. MyPlace has roughly 50 self storage facilities in major urban areas in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.
With 20 years’ experience in the self storage industry, Martin has extensive know-how in the industry and has been one of the leading developers of self storage in German speaking Europe. Martin started his career as a consultant. He then moved on to a paper merchants and was responsible for expanding into Eastern Europe after the fall of the iron curtain. In 1999 he founded MyPlace with 2 other partners.