Ashner, Witkoff want Wendy Silverstein as NYRT’s new CEO

Former Vornado exec part of proposal to change REIT’s management
October 04, 2016 10:53AM

From left: Michael Ashner, Steven Witkoff and Wendy Silverstein

From left: Michael Ashner, Steven Witkoff and Wendy Silverstein

Michael Ashner and Steven Witkoff proposed Wendy Silverstein as New York REIT’s new CEO, the activist investors announced in a press release Tuesday.

The potential appointment is part of Ashner and Witkoff’s proposal to replace the struggling REIT’s current external manager with Ashner’s Winthrop Realty Partners. The pair claims that such a switch could “generate savings exceeding $50 million in liquidation costs and $4 million in annual operating costs.”

Silverstein (no relation to developer Larry Silverstein) served as executive vice president at Vornado Realty Trust until April 2015.

Last month, NYRT’s board agreed to dissolve the REIT and sell its assets, following pressure from Ashner and Witkoff to do so. Ashner, who heads Winthrop Realty Trust TRData LogoTINY, and developer Witkoff jointly invested in NYRT through an entity called WW Investors. The two nominated themselves to the REIT’s board in August.

Last week, Ashner penned an open letter to the REIT’s board blasting it for allegedly “muffling” WW’s voice by refusing to immediately give them seats on the board. In response, New York REIT issued a statement disputing several of Ashner’s claims and arguing that it offered WW “reasonable terms,” including letting Ashner and Witkoff attend board meetings before being elected to the company’s board at a shareholder meeting. – Konrad Putzier