The Real Deal New York

Jonathan Iger takes helm at William Kaufman Organization

Grandson of firm's late chief plans expansion through acquisitions

June 27, 2016 11:11AM

From left: Jonathan Iger and Robert Kaufman

From left: Jonathan Iger and Robert Kaufman

One of New York’s oldest real estate dynasties, the William Kaufman Organization, is now in the hands of the family’s fourth generation following the death of Robert Kaufman in February.

Kaufman’s 34-year-old grandson, Jonathan Iger, is now CEO of a family business with a portfolio spanning 3 million square feet and including six office towers, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Chief among Iger’s plans for the family company is to expand its holdings through acquisitions. He will also continue to renovate the firm’s portfolio — a $120 million investment that started in 2010.

Following Kaufman’s death, the top job did not go to one logical successor – son-in-law Mark Iger – who is a lawyer by trade but who said his legal experience is more focused on solving problems than devising new business ventures.

Meanwhile, Mark Iger’s son Jonathan had joined the company at his grandfather’s behest in 2010 and had been groomed for the position. Previously, the younger Iger started a firm to help new college graduates find New York City apartments, and then worked for a real estate investment firm.

“I realized there was no better person to learn from and how long would I have that opportunity?” Iger recalled, of his decision to join the family business six years ago.

William Kaufman launched the company in 1924 by scooping up rental buildings. After World War II, his sons Melvyn and Robert joined the firm and began developing office towers. Its first property was 711 Third Avenue, which SL Green Realty later purchased. Others include 77 Water Street and 747 Third Avenue. [WSJ]E.B. Solomont

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