Avison Young has promoted one of its own to replace U.S. President Juan Bueno, who is leaving for a job outside the company, as global brokerage firms navigate a choppy economy that’s led to a marked drop-off in commercial property transactions across the country.
The Toronto-based firm said Tuesday that Harry Klaff, who has served as president of clients for more than two years, will transition to the position of U.S. president. In his new role, Klaff will oversee Avison Young’s U.S. markets and lead the group’s more than 2,000 employees from his Washington, D.C., office.
Bueno, who’s based in Atlanta, confirmed in a text message he has accepted but not yet started a position at a real estate company that will be identified later.
Klaff takes over as U.S. president as brokerage firms contend with a slowdown in leasing and investment sales activity. Brokerage shops rely on commissions from such deals to generate revenue. In February, Colliers CEO Jay Hennick said he expected “interest rate volatility, challenging debt availability and geopolitical issues” to continue to impact investment sales volume at least through the first half of the year.
As for leasing activity, Avison Young said in its first-quarter U.S. office market report that “mounting financial services disruption, highlighted by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and several banking acquisitions, contributed to the second-weakest quarter in terms of leasing activity since 2001. Leasing activity is poised to rise as 2023 progresses — but is still unexpected to approach pre-COVID levels — as tenants capitalize on greater leverage and space utilization strategies come to realization.”
Klaff joined Avison Young in October 2020 in the president of clients role designed to ensure collaboration between the firm’s customers and business lines. He previously had worked at JLL and one its predecessor firms for more than 30 years. His long career in commercial real estate “and his depth of experience — specifically in client-facing roles” will help Klaff succeed as new Avison Young U.S. president, CEO Mark Rose said in a statement.
“He has made significant strides in bolstering our reach and offerings in the occupier, owner, and investor spaces,” Rose said.
Klaff said in a statement that he looks forward “to strengthening the close partnerships I’ve built over the years with Avison Young’s country and service line leaders across the globe.”
As for Bueno, he leaves Avison Young after serving as U.S. president for nearly two years. He joined the firm after working for four years building the wholesale division at Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer. Bueno brought “a dynamic leadership style, and an entrepreneurial and creative approach to the firm’s teams across the United States,” Avison Young.