Changing of the Guard
New Year brings new leadership at several firms.
The beginning of the new decade brings with it a changing of the guard at a few of the most prominent retail real estate firms in the U.S., including Developers Diversified Realty Corp., CBL & Associates Properties Inc. and the Cafaro Co. Effective Jan. 1, the venerable heads of all three firms stepped aside to make way for successors.
Developers Diversified Realty, a Beachwood, Ohio-based shopping center REIT that operates 155.6 million square feet of retail domestically, was the first of the three firms to make an official announcement. On Nov. 9 it divulged that Daniel B. Hurwitz would succeed Scott A. Wolstein as CEO. Wolstein, who has served as CEO since 1992, will maintain a leadership position as executive chairman of the company's board of directors.
Hurwitz, 45, has spent 10 years at Developers Diversified, most recently serving as president and COO. During that time, he worked in close collaboration with Wolstein, 57, and gained first-hand experience in leading the company. It's been long expected in industry circles that he would eventually succeed Wolstein. Hurwitz is viewed as a talented and experienced real estate executive. If Developers Diversified didn't promote him, it was possible that other public and private real estate firms looking to fill top management positions might have aggressively courted him, says Moore.
Meanwhile in Tennessee, the transition at CBL & Associates has also been planned for some time. On Dec. 14, the Chattanooga, Tenn.-based regional mall REIT announced that Stephen D. Lebovitz would succeed his father, Charles B. Lebovitz, as CEO. Stephen Lebovitz has been with the company for 21 years, most recently serving as president. He notes that in preparation for a potential leadership transition, CBL's executive team initiated a strategic planning process two years ago, which gave him a good understanding of where the company should be heading long-term.
The strategic planning process “was very helpful just in terms of determining our strategic direction going forward, and I played a gradually increasing role with our key [business] relations,” Stephen Lebovitz says. “I've been groomed for this for a number of years, so I feel like am very well prepared.”
Like Wolstein, Charles Lebovitz will stay on as executive chairman of CBL's board of directors.
Finally, on Dec. 28, the Cafaro Co., a Youngstown, Ohio-based privately-held mall owner with a 32-million-square-foot portfolio, announced the retirement from day-to-day operations of the company's president Anthony M. Cafaro Sr. and his brother, vice president John J. (Jay) Cafaro. Anthony Cafaro Sr.'s sons, Anthony Cafaro Jr. and William A. Cafaro, now share the title of co-president.
The two new leaders say that the change will have virtually no impact on their day-to-day responsibilities as they have been effectively in control of the company for the past several years. Anthony M. Cafaro Sr., their father, continued to come into work and offered advice, but left the decision-making to them. Now that he has decided to retire full-time, the succession announcement is more of a formality.
“The appointment and my father's retirement have been evolutionary, rather than being due to [sudden] change,” says Anthony Cafaro Jr. “We are proud to be recognized in our industry, but there haven't been many changes in our daily routines for a couple of years.”
Both Anthony Cafaro Jr., 35, and William Cafaro, 40, have been serving the Cafaro Co. in various roles since they were children, starting with maintenance work when they turned 12. After joining the company full-time after college, Anthony Cafaro Jr. concentrated on leasing and construction, while William has focused on finances.
Lending a Hand
Macerich has partnered with the American Red Cross to collect donations for Haiti, in the wake of the country's earthquake. The company has organized collection sites at the Guest Services spots at each of its centers. Shoppers will be able to use already provided envelopes to donate money in the form of cash, checks and credit cards. The centers will be able to receive only monetary donations. The money will go to provide food, water, shelter and medical assistance to Haitians in need. More information can be accessed at the Macerich Web site, at www.macerich.com.
Simon Property Group has teamed up with Universal Studios Home Entertainment to organize appearances by celebrated book character Curious George at Simon malls. The effort is timed to coincide with Simon Kidgits Club's Book Blast! events for children, scheduled to take place in February. Families attending the event will receive a fun pack complete with coloring pages, stickers and a Curious George mask. They will also be able to preview Curious George 2: Follow that Monkey DVD and hear local celebrities read from the paperback adaptation of the movie. At some malls, Curious George will also make a live appearance. The campaign is part of Universal's effort to promote the March release of the Curious George DVD.
The U.S. Green Building Council has selected Regency Centers Corp. to serve as project consultant for its new Green Retail Guide: Integrating LEED into Your Leasing Process. The new guide will complement the LEED for Retail rating system. The guide is scheduled for release in mid-2010 and will be available for sale at usgbc.org/publications. Regency joined forces with Green Building Services, Inc., a sustainable development consulting firm, and Ecoxera, a green business strategies and communications firm. The group will research, develop and write content for the publication while following specific guidelines set forth by the Green Building Council. The guide will discuss topics ranging from how buildings affect the environment and center tenants to the impact of various types of lease transactions on LEED goals.
Shopping center and retail industry recruitment firms Robert Rea + Co., Inc. and Silverman & Associates Executive Search officially merged forces on Feb. 1 to create ShopTheJobs.com Inc. Since its launch in December 2009 after 12 months in development, ShopTheJobs.com has been offering online job postings, resume submittal capabilities and branding solutions to professionals in the retail and retail real estate industries. The site also features a Web library to keep candidates up to date on industry trends and practices. ShopTheJobs.com Inc. will function as a recruitment resource both online and in the real world. Roberta Rea + Co. Inc. has recruited shopping center and retail industry professionals since 1988. Beth Silverman, who is co-president of the new firm, served as president of Silverman & Associates Executive Search for 14 years.