Property pioneer Jeff Zidel to retire this month

Jeff Zidel – one of South Africa’s most recognised and highly-regarded property developers and investors is set to retire this month after a distinguished 47-year career in the industry.

As a result of his retirement, Zidel (67) will relinquish his role as Deputy Chairman of Fortress, the JSE-listed SA Real Estate Investment Trust (SAREIT).

One of the doyens of SA listed property, Zidel was appointed President of the South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC) in 2016, is a three-time past President of the Roodepoort Chamber of Commerce and was the winner of the 2010 Absa Jewish Achiever of the Year award, among his many other accolades.

“Jeff has basically seen it all when it comes to property and retail development. For instance, he was one of the early visionaries in the expansion of the highly successful Nandos chain; was a leading light in the development of strip malls in Lesotho; and, was a driving force behind the growth of the listed property sector in SA in the early 2000’s,” said Fortress CEO, Mark Stevens.

Mark Stevens, CEO of SA Real Estate Investment Trust (SAREIT), Fortress.

“His vision and astute leadership will be missed. However, it is also important to say a new crop of property professionals – who learnt so much under Jeff’s stewardship – will ensure that his visionary outlook and fortitude is not lost to the sector,” added Stevens.

Fortress chairman, Iraj Abedian, thanked Zidel for his sterling contribution as a board member over the years. “The property sector is certainly faced with a number of challenges at the moment and it is thanks to leaders of the calibre of Jeff that we have been able to weather the storm and chart a new course for an exciting future,” he said.

Among his other roles, Zidel was a trustee on the world board of the International Council of Shopping Centres, a director of the South African Property Owners’ Association (SAPOA) and a non-executive director of New Europe Property Investments plc.

As a result of Zidel’s departure, a new non-executive independent director will be sought by Fortress. “The board is in discussions with suitable candidates and an announcement will be made once the new non-executive independent director has been appointed,” said Stevens.

* Content edited by Suren Naidoo