The Real Deal New York

Cresa appoints former Cushman exec Underhill as CEO

Boston-based brokerage firm looking to double revenues, employees in next five years
March 02, 2016 03:30PM

James Underhill

James Underhill

Commercial real estate brokerage Cresa hired former Cushman & Wakefield executive James Underhill as its CEO, with Underhill tasked with overseeing Cresa’s strategy to double its revenues and employees in five years.

Underhill previously served as head of Cushman & Wakefield’s Americas division until late 2014, after working at the brokerage for roughly seven years. He will succeed Boston-based Cresa’s interim CEO Richard Rhodes, who assumed the role last year.

Cresa, which claims to be one of the only commercial brokerages that does not suffer a conflict of interest, is a network of more than 70 independently-owned offices with around 1,000 employees around the world, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The members of those independent offices own stakes in Cresa, which only represents tenants – claiming that competitors who represent both landlords and tenants are, by nature, conflicted.

Cresa’s revenues in 2015 stood at $295 million, up from around $280 million in 2014, according to the firm. The company is looking to finance its ambitious expansion through borrowing and “restructuring,” Underhill told the Journal.

Underhill, who departed Cushman shortly after its acquisition of Massey Knakal Realty Services, joins Cresa at a time of consolidation in the commercial real estate services industry — with big firms like CBRE, JLL and Newmark Grubb Knight Frank on the lookout for acquisitions.

There was also the $2 billion megamerger between Cushman and DTZ last year, with Cushman widely believed to be planning an initial public offering. [WSJ]Rey Mashayekhi