The Real Deal New York

Former NYCHA chair Shola Olatoye joins contractor Suffolk

Housing veteran to head sales and business development in NYC
By Konrad Putzier | October 17, 2018 09:00AM

Shola Olatoye (Credit: Sasha Maslov)

Shola Olatoye, who in April resigned as the chair of New York City Housing Authority amid a lead paint poisoning scandal, joined building contractor Suffolk as vice president in charge of business development in New York, the company announced Wednesday.

The hiring comes as Boston-based Suffolk, which placed 17th in The Real Deal’s May ranking of New York’s most active construction firms, tries to expand in the city. On Monday, the company announced the hiring of Nick Dhimitri, who previously worked as Sen. Chuck Schumer’s director of economic development, as head of external affairs.

In a statement, Suffolk’s New York president Charlie Avolio lauded Olatoye’s “knowledge of the New York real estate development landscape coupled with her passion for building relationships.”

Olatoye resigned as NYCHA chair in April after four years on the job following reports that the agency had covered up its failure to inspect thousands of apartments for lead paint. Mayor Bill de Blasio nonetheless credited her with improving the state of public housing. “The Housing Authority that the Chair inherited four years ago faced bankruptcy, an inability to make basic repairs and an alarming surge in violence. She was a change agent from Day One,” he said at the time.

Prior to joining NYCHA, Olatoye served as New York market leader at affordable housing organization Enterprise Community Partners and as an executive at HSBC Bank and at real estate consultancy HR&Advisors.

Suffolk is involved in the Pier 6 apartment project on the Brooklyn waterfront and the 43-story mixed-use tower 222 East 44th Street in Manhattan, among other developments. The company opened its first Manhattan office in 2015. It hired Related Companies veteran William Whitesell as chief operating officer this June and has plans to build more healthcare and life sciences projects.