The office of the European, Middle East and Africa division of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) has closed down.
The ICSC, which is headquartered in New York, took the decision to close the EMEA office in January 2019, though no formal statement was divulged publicly.
ICSC staff led by Bill Kistler, who served as executive vice president and managing director of EMEA for over three years, have now departed. Meanwhile, it is understood that ongoing talks held throughout 2019 by a transitional board including senior representatives of some of the largest pan-European companies as well as European national councils of shopping centres have progressed and that a new organisation to be based in Brussels is being launched.
The replacement trade association is being led by Peter Wilhelm, CEO of the Wilhelm & Co Group, who was also European chairman of the ICSC, and Joost Koomen, formerly head of public affairs in Europe. Wilhelm became chairman of the ICSC in Europe in October 2018 having become a member in 1997.
A provisional name is being used for the organisation while discussions continue with backers. The ‘ECSP’ stands for the European Council of Shopping Places but the name could yet change.
At its peak, the European chapter of the ICSC had around 7,000 members across 35 countries including owners, developers, investors, retailers, consultants and service providers who contribute to the five million retail real estate jobs and more than €1 tln in sales annually across Europe.
It is understood that the ICSC also took a decision to shutter its Asia and Latin American operations at the start of last year.
The last annual ICSC Europe conference took place in Barcelona in April where much of the discussion on stage focused on the challenges and opportunities facing those involved in retail property.