The Real Deal New York

Rob Speyer to be sole CEO of Tishman Speyer

Jerry Speyer to continue as chairman of firm

September 28, 2015 12:25PM
By Rich Bockmann

Rob Speyer and Jerry Speyer

Rob Speyer and Jerry Speyer

UPDATED, 1:27 p.m., Sept. 28: Tishman Speyer’s Rob Speyer has been appointed sole CEO of the company, after sharing the title for seven years with his father Jerry Speyer, according to an internal memo obtained by The Real Deal. Jerry will remain chair of the firm, which oversees a global portfolio of nearly 100 million square feet. 

“This is a natural progression in the leadership of the firm and one that also reflects the reality of the way we have been running the business since becoming co-CEO’s seven years ago,” read the memo, which was sent to Tishman Speyer employees worldwide. “As leaders of a private enterprise, we strongly believe in the importance of actively shaping our own future. This means progressive change without losing the continuity of experience and management that is one of our key strengths.”

Since 2008, the two have shared the title of co-CEO, while Jerry, 75, acted as chairman and Rob, 45, had the title of president. Over those few years, the younger Speyer has taken on more of the day-to-day responsibility of running the company.

A spokesperson for the company declined to comment. Its 98.3 million-square-foot portfolio includes more than 50 million square feet in North America, more than 17 million square feet in China and more than 12 million square feet in India, according to its website.

In 2013, a TRD analysis found that Tishman Speyer’s New York portfolio — in excess of 16 million square feet — was the most valuable among New York’s real estate dynasties, with a net operating income of $568 million. Its holdings include New York icons such as Rockefeller Center, with minority interests in the Chrysler Building and the MetLife Building.  Its Manhattan development projects include a $3.2 billion mixed-use tower in the Hudson Yards district.

Jerry Speyer, who Forbes estimates is worth $4.4 billion, was recently dubbed the most-connected New York real estate executive by Crain’s. An avid art collector, he serves as the chair of the Museum of Modern Art and formerly served as the chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

In the early 1990s, Rob Speyer worked as a metro reporter for the New York Daily News, where he broke news of a major housing scam in the South Bronx. He joined the family business in 1995 and was a driving force behind the firm’s $5.4 billion acquisition of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, which ultimately ended in default.

In 2012, he became the youngest-ever chair of the Real Estate Board of New York. In recent years, he has upped Tishman Speyer’s bets on the outer boroughs; the firm paid $170 million for Macy’s Downtown Brooklyn property at 422 Fulton Street, which it is largely converting to office space, and it’s also developing an 1,800-unit residential project in Long Island City.

But it’s not just blockbuster deals that have gotten the young real estate executive in the headlines. In May, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara alluded to Rob Speyer in his criminal complaint charging then-state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos with corruption.

While Speyer was neither directly named nor accused of any wrongdoing, Bharara’s complaint made reference to a meeting between Speyer and Skelos’ son as an example of how the lawmaker leveraged his official position to curry favor with the city’s elite.