Xpat Interview: David M Johnston, Senior Director, CBRE

  • 12 Apr 2019 3:32 PM
Xpat Interview: David M Johnston, Senior Director, CBRE
David M Johnston is a Senior Director and Head of the Advisory and Transactions department for Hungary, based in Budapest.

The Advisory and Transaction teams (A&T) comprises the running and management of the Office Agency, Retail Agency and Industrial Agency teams.

David joined CBRE in August 2017, prior to this David was a Partner and Head of Office Agency at Cushman and Wakefield, where he worked for 12 years. In total he has nearly 15 years’ experience in the Commercial Property Industry, both in the UK (Edinburgh, Scotland) and Hungarian markets.

He specialises in advising Landlords / Developer and Tenants across all three Commercial sectors. In recent years he has been involved in some of the most high-profile office transactions in Budapest including representing: Raiffeisen Bank (20,000 sq m pre-lease at AGORA), General Electric (44,000 sq m at Vaci Greens,) and BlackRock (11,750 sqm) – new market entry into Budapest, to name a select few.

1. When did you arrive in Hungary and what brought you here?
August 2008, I originally planned 1 year for work, which has now turned into nearly 11 years.

2. Have you ever been an expatriate elsewhere?

3. What surprised you most about Hungary?
As a Scotsman, how hot the summer is and short the Springtime is. Blink and you miss it almost. 

4. Friends are in Budapest for a weekend - what must they absolutely see and do?
Walk across the Chain Bridge, get the funicular up to the Castle, have a nice long lunch with lots of Hungarian wine and then spend a few hours soaking in one of the thermal baths – Szechenyi is my favourite.

5. What is your favourite Hungarian food?
Pogácsa is always welcomed.

6. What is never missing from your refrigerator?
Colman’s Mustard and Mint Sauce.

7. What is your favourite Hungarian word(s)?
Nagyon zene.

8. What do you miss the most from home?
Bacon rolls.

9. What career other than yours would you love to pursue?

10. What's a job you would definitely never want?
Something that involves a detailed understanding of maths or chemistry

11. Where did you spend your last vacation?
Paxos, an island off Corfu in Greece.

12. Where do you hope to spend your next one?
Japan, to watch some of the Rugby World Cup in the Autumn.

13. What was your favourite band, film, or hobby as a teen?
I liked the band Nirvana a lot when I was younger.

14. A part of temptation what can't you resist?
Salt and Vinegar Crisps.

15. Red wine or white?
Red in Winter, White in Summer

16. Book or movie?

17. Morning person or night person?
Before my son was born a night person, now I have no choice and am a very early morning person!

18. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?
The unnecessary use of plastic for everything.

19. Buda side or Pest side?
Pest is best.

20. What would you say is your personal motto? 
Don’t ask don’t get.

  • How does this interview make you feel?