Names in the News

Petch Gibbons has been named president and CEO of Advantis, the commercial real estate services unit of The St. Joe Co., which is based in Jacksonville, Fla.

Richard Solomons has been named COO of the Americas division of Atlanta-based Bass Hotels & Resorts Inc.

Arthur M. Blank, co-founder and co-chairman of The Home Depot, will not seek re-election to The Home Depot Board of Directors in 2001. He will continue to serve as co-chairman until his term ends May 30, at which time Bernie Marcus, co-founder and co-chairman, is expected to continue as chairman of the board.

Alison Cooke has been named national director and head of Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.'s global consulting group, which is based in Hong Kong, and part of JLL's Asia Pacific region.

Phyllis Slesinger has been named general counsel and staff vice president of the Washington, D.C.-based Mortgage Bankers Association of America (MBA).

John Mack and Hugh McColl have been nominated to the Board of Directors of Atlanta-based Cousins Properties Inc. Both are up for election at the company's annual meeting of shareholders in May. Mack is president, COO and a director of New York-based Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. McColl is chairman and CEO of Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America.

O.B. (Barney) Upton has been elected executive vice president, corporate services, of New York-based Cushman & Wakefield and has been named a member of the firm's newly created global management committee. Upton is also a member of the Cushman & Wakefield's Board of Directors.

Nabil G. Achkar has been named president of Radisson Hotels & Resorts Latin America, the Miami-based franchise development partner of Radisson Hotels & Resorts for Central and South America. The company is part of Minneapolis-based Radisson Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

Jerome Loeb will retire as chairman of the board of The May Department Stores Co., St. Louis, Mo., effective April 30. Eugene S. Kahn, current president and CEO of the company, will succeed Loeb as chairman.

Donald R. Trice has been elected vice chairman of Crestline Hotels & Resorts, the management subsidiary of Bethesda, Md.-based Crestline Capital Corp. He served as president and CEO.

Simon Robinson has been promoted to CEO of Insignia Brooke, New York-based Insignia Financial Group Inc.'s full-service commercial real estate subsidiary operating in several Asian countries. He has served as director of international business in New York, where he facilitated business opportunities between the company's U.S. and European offices. He will relocate to Hong Kong where he will be responsible for day-to-day operations and new business in the region.

Jonathan Kempner joins staff of MBA

Jonathan Kempner, president of the Washington, D.C.-based National Multi Housing Council (NMHC), will become chief operating officer of the Washington, D.C.-based Mortgage Bankers Association of America (MBA). After a brief transition period of handling responsibilities at both organizations, Kempner should be ensconced in his new position at MBA by the end of May.

Kempner has headed the NMHC — an organization that represents the nation's leading firms involved in various aspects of the apartment industry — for the past 14 years. During that period, he played a major role in employee hiring and staff development. Kempner recalled that when he took over the Council in the late 1980s, there were only a handful of staff members. The Council had a fine reputation but given its size limitations, the NMHC was merely an observer on most issues, just reporting back to the membership as to what went on in Washington, D.C., he said.

Today, NMHC is an active participant in the Beltway with regard to all phases of government, research and business practices. The NMHC staff has grown to 29 employees. “Because of our staff resources, we now are playing a key role in shaping the political and intellectual environment for the apartment industry,” said Kempner.

The key responsibilities of his new role at MBA — a national association that represents the real estate finance industry — are varied. “I will be ensuring that all of the elements that go into a national industry association — the members, the leadership and staff — are working effectively and in synchronization to do what's best for real estate finance in America,” he stated.

As for his goals as COO, Kempner's philosophy is if it ain't broke, don't fix it. “MBA has a great tradition of excellence,” he said, “and my hope is to be able to help fine-tune the operations so that they are even more effective as we go forward.”

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