In his first interview since the announcement of his successor Glenn Rufrano yesterday, outgoing Cushman & Wakefield CEO Bruce Mosler told The Real Deal about his involvement in the selection process and about his recent trip to China to drum up new business. Cushman announced yesterday that Rufrano, CEO of the Australian-based real estate company Centro Properties Group, would take over leadership March 22. Mosler will remain at the company as a co-chairman of the board.
You announced in October 2009 that you would be stepping down. When did the process start to find a replacement?
We did not begin the search until July.
How many candidates were first considered for the CEO position?
I think there were probably more than 40 candidates interested.
When did you become more actively involved in the selection process?
I can tell you I entered the fray further down the line — as I had requested — when the field had been narrowed.
When in the process was that?
I came in towards a point in time when there were three [candidates], somewhere in that range. Certainly two or three serious candidates. But I was part of the [overall selection] process.
What month was that?
Probably in November by the time the field was narrowed; I think at that point we were still looking inside and outside the industry. I met Glenn probably in January, or [last] December.
When did they finalize on Rufrano?
The [selection] committee first met him in December. [That’s when] they zeroed in on him.
You mentioned the search process for a new CEO began in July. That was just weeks before Rufrano told Centro in early August that he would not continue as CEO after his contract expired this year. Did he announce he was stepping down to take the job at Cushman?
No, no, no. None of those things correlated. He announced he was leaving Centro having nothing to do with Cushman & Wakefield before that. They are not related.
What about Rufrano made him a good candidate for the job?
I think [his] level of real estate experience. [And he] had the ability to bring us to the next level into new arenas like investment management.
What are the company’s challenges going forward?
It is where to grow. It’s how to grow. I think it is where to diversify and how to diversify. I think there is going to be more consolidation and we are poised to do that.
What are the specific goals for the company going forward?
Glenn is going to come up with the new plan, and I am going to support him.
You arrived last night in New York on a flight from China. What were you doing there?
Obviously we think China is one area of enormous growth for the firm. I was there as the co-chairman of the board to meet with clients. We’ve just been given the consultancy for the Shanghai Tower [which is expected to be the second tallest building in the world, it is now under construction].