The Leader Magazine

DEC 2018

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the lea D er December 2018 21 I n March of this year, corporate real estate executive Matt Fanoe retired as Vice President of Real Estate at Coca-Cola Refreshments (CCR), the North American Bottling Operations for the Coca-Cola Company. It was his last position in a 36-year career with the world-famous soft drink brand. In the early days on the job, he focused on developing budgets, forecasting sales and analyzing operating expenses for the bottling company in Los Angeles. Then, he headed east to the Atlanta-based headquarters of Coca-Cola, where he rose to Corporate Director of Real Estate and Facilities at Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. (CCE). In 2010, he joined CCR, ultimately managing the entity's 50-million-square-foot (4.64-million-sq.-m.), 600-location portfolio. "Matt's contribution to the corporate real estate (CRE) profession as a pioneer, trailblazer, role model, mentor, thought leader and change agent who has helped shape the profession is defined by one simple yet passionate belief – adding value to the core business." That's just one of the praises for Fanoe sung by former CoreNet Global Board Director Mary Jane Olhasso, MCR, SLCR, Assistant Executive Officer - Finance and Administration for the County of San Bernardino, California, who added, "He always understood that the profession was not solely based on buying and selling real estate, but on fostering sustainable and meaningful relationships." Fanoe began his career with Coca-Cola when few real estate departments were centralized. Many real estate decisions were made at the CFO level. Brokerage relationships were few and often strained. In the world of distribution, facilities were not the well-oiled, web-linked machines they are today but were small, scattered and undisciplined. After proving himself in Los Angeles, Fanoe joined a decentralized structure at CCE in Atlanta, which had up to 200 owned and leased properties in its portfolio. In a short time, he developed CCE's small but centralized in-house real estate group, one that outsourced transactional work to service providers as it built important internal relationships with senior CCE management, including the C-suite. The result was recognition as a trusted asset of the organization. "I was so very privileged to witness and to serve the evolution of what I believe to be one of the most efficient and effective real estate departments in corporate America," said Robert Farrar, a real estate broker and consultant who would ultimately represent Coca-Cola for more than three decades. "What impressed me about Matt in those early years was his humility, his ethical compass and intellect, his drive to learn, and his team-building and problem-solving skills. "Over the next decade, CCE grew to have some 400 owned and leased properties in its North American portfolio," Farrar added. "During Matt's long tenure with CCE, he not only developed a remarkably capable and diverse team within CCE, he also forged relationships with external resources that lasted decades." Fanoe's skill at relationship-building is viewed as one of his greatest strengths. "He was a great negotiator," said Celeste Burr, who worked for and with Fanoe at Coca- Cola for 22 years. "He didn't use the power of the brand name to bully his way into getting what the company needed in a lease or purchase negotiation. Instead, he knew the important points Coke had to have and traded on these items. This way, at the conclusion of the deal, Coke had what it needed, landlords got what they needed, and it was the beginning of a good and often long-term relationship between the parties." Similarly, Fanoe's dedication to building strategic relationships with internal groups proved to be a forward-thinking strategy for positioning the company well during the evolution of technology's impact on operations, Olhasso noted. Reaching even more broadly, Fanoe saw the company as having an obligation to form positive relationships with the public at large by making sound, mutually beneficial corporate decisions. He worked under the belief that sustainability, for example, is a key best practice for CRE, not a public-relations gimmick or fad. Creating a smaller carbon footprint, he reasoned, provided cost-containment advantages for the company while creating more responsible, more efficient and better-equipped workspaces. "I believe that Matt's success in business, as in life, has been his ability to self-assess, to be humble while leading others, to think strategically, to invite and encourage the contribution of others, to inspire excellence in execution, as well as commitment to the mission and to the team," Farrar said. "Above all, Matt is a man of integrity with an unerring ethical compass." Upon hearing the news of his induction into the Distinguished Leaders Circle, Fanoe said the following in his quintessential, understated style: "I am humbled and honored to be inducted into the Distinguished Leaders Circle. To be recognized for this distinction by my peers is among the top achievements of my career. During my 38-years in the Coca-Cola system, I was surrounded by incredible talent and I owe much of my success to their hard work and support." His time at CoreNet Global was equally memorable and rewarding. During his tenure as Global Chair, he focused on strengthening the association's value proposition as well as the governance and strategic focus that led to significant membership growth. Working with CoreNet Global's Chief Executive Officer Angela Cain, Fanoe led a major association initiative to introduce a chapter dues-sharing model that fostered a "membership matters" culture within the organization. He also encouraged greater global diversity and leadership from women in the association and was instrumental in selecting its second female Global Chair, Kate Langan of ANZ Bank in Australia. "I have many wonderful memories of my time working with Matt as Global Chair from 2011-12," said Cain. "His positive energy and sense of humor while at the helm were much needed during a time of important change for the association. From his guitar playing in the "CoreNet Global" band at a Summit to his stellar representation of the organization across Asia and Europe, his thoughtful, approachable leadership style brought people together." 2014-2016 Global Chair Randy Smith, MCR, of Oracle adds: "Matt is a tireless advocate for the power of networking with peers and continuous learning – a true champion for CoreNet Global." Like so many who've crossed paths with Fanoe, MCR faculty member Sherri S. Parman, MCR, and Partner, Capstan Advisors, agrees: "Few executives can match Matt's passion to advance the CRE profession. His tremendous leadership effort led to increased member value, and he is always willing to promote and mentor young leaders." Fanoe, who notes that his retirement status is only temporary, added: "CoreNet Global has been my professional home for many years and I have the utmost respect for the staff and membership. My years on the CoreNet Global Board were among the most fulfilling of my career. The friends and professional contacts I made at CoreNet Global are something I will carry with me forever. I am very grateful to those who nominated me for this award and would like to thank the judging panel for recognizing me for this honor." Matthew J. Fanoe

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