Cushman looks outside industry for new CEO

By Adam Pincus | December 02, 2009 07:04PM

In an unusual move for commercial brokerages in New York City, the still-unnamed replacement for outgoing Cushman & Wakefield CEO Bruce Mosler may not have a real estate background, the company told The Real Deal today.

The firm announced last month that Mosler would step down Jan. 1, 2010 as president and CEO and become co-chairman of the board, along with John Cushman, who is currently chairman.

No replacement has been named, and the search led by the company’s board of directors and executive search firm Spencer Stuart, continues.

“We are committed to identifying the best candidate for the position and we have cast a wide net outside and inside the industry,” a spokesperson for the company said in an e-mail, but would not comment on why the firm would look beyond the brokerage industry.

Cushman is owned by Exor, the investment company of the Italian Agnelli family, which is represented on the board of directors of Cushman & Wakefield.

Most of the other top executives for the leading firms with a New York City presence have real estate backgrounds. Brett White, president and CEO of California-based CB Richard Ellis, had been a manager with the firm since 1991, and was president before taking over the top job.

The CEO of Newmark Knight Frank is broker Barry Gosin while the CEO of Massey Knakal Realty Services is broker Paul Massey.

However the CEO of Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle, Colin Dyer, was an executive for a retail-related Internet firm before being tapped in 2004.

Vishaan Chakrabarti, director of the real estate development program at Columbia University, said it would be unusual for a non-real estate executive to take the post, but it may be part of larger changes in the business.

“It is outside the traditional structure,” he said. “[However], if they go outside that may be appropriate because the industry is in a very significant upheaval.”

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