Kimco names heir to the throne

NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y.—Kimco Realty Corp., a neighborhood shopping center REIT, named David Henry as the eventual successor of Milton Cooper, 72, the company’s long-time chairman and CEO who founded Kimco 40 years ago.

Henry initially will serve as chief investment officer and will be nominated for the vice chairman. Within a year, Henry is expected to take over the CEO role, while Cooper will remain chairman.

"We believe David Henry’s addition will be a positive boost for the stock, as management succession has been a key concern over the past two years," said Stuart Axelrod, a REIT analyst at Lehman Brothers.

With the succession there will be an adjustment period for Henry who joins after serving as the CIO and senior vice president of GE Capital Real Estate, explained Axelrod. "The company is bringing in an outsider as well. It takes time for someone to learn the company," he said. "You bring in someone who’s been at the same company for 23 years — it’s a major transition for him."

Axelrod said that Cooper staying on as the Chairman will help ease the transition period. Henry was responsible for a $20 billion real estate portfolio, but only $3 billion of that portfolio was retail properties. "He [Henry] needs to come up to speed with retail and get to know all the players," Axelrod said.

This addition bodes well for Kimco, which has long boasted a higher growth rate than its counterparts. "Kimco has the highest multiple of its group by a long shot," Axelrod said.

Henry should be up to the challenge, Axelrod said. Either way, Cooper’s vision will continue to light the path while he stays on at Kimco as Chairman.

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