Peter Poot was born in the Dutch city of The Hague in 1954 and educated in Holland before entering one of Switzerland’s leading business schools: The University of St. Gallen for Business Administration, Economics, Law and Social Sciences. In 1988, he joined the Chipshol Group, a company that his father Jan Poot had founded two years earlier. Peter Poot began his Chipshol career as Secretary of the board, becoming Chief Financial Officer four years later. In 1995, he ascended to his current position of Chief Executive Officer.
While his father “was the man with the original vision,” Peter Poot explains, “we have always acted as a team.” After studying many major airports, particularly in America, the two “saw potential that would help Schiphol airport become the number one airport in the world. We wanted to create the most attractive living and working environment on the continent of Europe.” The Poots set out to create an environment that would both attract the best foreign corporations and facilitate the way in which those companies conducted business.
A green vision
“With the space claims of automobiles around buildings drastically reduced, a large proportion of the land consists of parks and other open spaces. These green areas, along with courtyards and squares, surround elegant buildings built according to the principles of sustainable architecture.”
The Poots were concerned with the impact of business parks on the environment and developed a ‘green’ vision. Peter Poot says: “Since we want to attract the leading corporations, which require a very high quality environment, ‘going green’ also makes sound business sense.” Determined to address traffic solutions for their Airport City project, they conducted a worldwide, in-depth study to find a personal rapid transit system (PRT) that would drastically reduce the need for cars — and therefore smog, traffic, and parking issues –. The result was the PRT 2000, also known as Taxi 2000, a computerized, electrical monorail system that’s highly efficient and convenient, yet has a minimal impact on the environment.
Quality architecture, landscaping and efficient land use are also a priority at Chipshol’s parks. Parking is placed beneath buildings, a solution that –when introduced by Chipshol– had never been done in Europe. “With the space claims of automobiles around buildings drastically reduced, a large proportion of the land — fifty-seven percent of Chipshol Park, for example –consists of parks and other open spaces. These green areas, along with courtyards and squares, surround elegant buildings built according to the principles of sustainable architecture.”
“my father really is the visionary man, the entrepreneur”
To fund the company’s development activities, Peter Poot created private offerings in 1988 and 1992, issuing shares for its development company to a network of professional contacts, including small pension funds. Also in that period, he started a land bank to acquire further acreage, raising funds through another share issue.
While Poot insists that “my father really is the visionary man, the entrepreneur,” he clearly plays an equally important role. With his business acumen, “I complement him in this whole process,” he concedes. He describes his professional goal as a simple one – and it’s one that he shares with his father (who stepped down from playing an operational role in Chipshol in 1995). “I want to create environments where the people who work there or live there are stimulated to their best performance and feel good.”