06/07/2004 - 22:00

Noble family pursuit

06/07/2004 - 22:00


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FOURTH-GENERATION winner – richard noble and CO

Noble family pursuit

FOURTH-GENERATION winner – richard noble and CO


Alex and David Gregg say that, while they were growing up, there was no pressure on them to join Richard Noble & Co, the business their great grandfather started.

Likewise, their children will not be pressured in any way to join the business. Those decisions are some time away, however, as the brothers’ offspring, aged between three and 11 years, see the office as little more than a source of free biscuits, according to managing director Alex Gregg.

“The idea is for them to work at what they want to do, to keep in touch with the business, which will happen naturally, and then see what happens,” he said.

Richard Noble opened his real estate office in 1913. The business grew into project management in the 1930s, and has played a major role in the development of suburbs such as Mount Lawley, Maylands, Bicton and Bayswater.

Today, the company has grown to have 16 employees. It is involved in traditional real estate services as well as residential land development services, such as raising seed funds to purchase land, project managing, and developing and selling of lots to the general public.

Richard Noble has also been judged to be this year’s winner of the fourth-generation prize in the Family Business Awards.

Annual revenue has risen steadily since 1996, and Alex Gregg said the top priority of the business was to service clients.

“The family heritage factor is more of a feel-good factor than anything else,” he said. “We believe that what is good for business is good for the family, and try to engender the family feel with all our staff.”

Michael Gregg (Alex and David’s father) retired from the company in 1996 after 40 years with the firm and considerable time mentoring to the next generation.

“Dad is still the best mentor to bounce new ideas or issues off,” Alex Gregg said.

The family has five directors on the nine-director board with Michael, his wife Ann, sons Alex and David, and their sister Margot representing the family interest.

For a fourth-generation business, succession planning can be a major issue, but the Gregg brothers attribute the fact that their father was an only child to helping them to retain ownership of the family business.

A defining moment in the family business was when, in 2001, major client Gold Estates of Australia decided to sell its Australian operations.

Richard Noble had been acting for Gold Estates since 1936. By 1999 it had a commercial property portfolio of about $90 million.

Richard Noble arranged a capital raising of $30 million to buy out management, and completed the transaction in 2001.


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