Supporting RREF: Hugh Seaborn of Cadogan

Hugh Seaborn Cadogan ArticleRREF talks with CEO of Cadogan Estate, Hugh Seaborn on their support.

By Steven Wilson, Development Executive, RREF.

RREF talked with the CEO of Cadogan Estates Hugh Seaborn on his career, challenges facing the industry and the importance of philanthropy at Cadogan. Providing insight on what motivated the company to become a new donor for RREF’s widening participation initiative Pathways to Property; with a donation of £10,000.

What prompted you to pursue a career in real estate, and can you give an overview?
Real estate has always intrigued me. From a young age in rural Yorkshire those of my friends who were farmers seemed to have the space and opportunity to do the most exciting things. As an adult I have recognised that property does much to define our environment; as Winston Churchill said "we shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us". Since entering the property profession I recognised that it is people that are most important and I have been very fortunate indeed to work with exceptional people throughout my career.

Looking back, what are the differences you see in the industry today?
Technology has increased the expectation of more rapid decision making as well as increasing the ability to analyse property activity. Both are positive changes when balanced with the ability to stand back and weigh up one's instinctive judgement when appropriate. The other great change is the focus on the importance of the customer and responding to their needs which has become a central part of Cadogan's approach to estate management.

As a new Donor to Pathways what motivated you to offer your support to this initiative?
wo reasons. Firstly, I was approached by Alan Froggatt for whom I have got immense respect and his prompting caused me to look more closely. Secondly, it is an enormously important initiative as it aims to widen access to the property profession which will help strengthen the industry by ensuring its participants are more reflective of the wider society, and therefore help us collectively in making better decisions that reflect society more closely.

Pathways tackles the issue of widening participation in real estate, but what other future challenges do you see in the industry?
The property industry needs to work harder at communicating the contribution it makes to the wider economy and to people's daily lives. This is partly about communicating well and partly about ensuring that the industry itself is more aware of the impact it can have on society. The Pathways initiative will contribute to this by making the profession more accessible to a more diverse group of people.

How important is philanthropy and the support of initiatives such as Pathways to organisations such as Cadogan?
Cadogan owns and manages an extensive portfolio concentrated in Chelsea and Knightsbridge and has done so since the 18th Century. As such we have a keen appreciation of the importance of creating and improving a destination coupled to supporting the community within which we work. As a consequence Cadogan provides support to numerous charities in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea as well as to local community initiatives. We encourage and support institutions in the area which in turn contribute to making Chelsea and Knightsbridge an attractive place to live, work, visit and shop.

For example, we have recently asked residents what shops they would like to see in the area and are currently in the process of securing retailers who will provide local people with what they have told us that they want. We fund and manage Cadogan Hall which is a 900 seat hall which represents one of a number of steps we have to take to ensure the area has a strong cultural offering. These are but two of numerous examples of our local activity. Despite not being local, Pathways is vital to the property industry in ensuring that it has access to a broader source of entrants and is more representative of the people it serves

If you would like to find out further information on how to support RREF and its initiatives please contact the Development team on or call 0118 378 8860.


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