Movers: EQ Office names Britton Derkac head of leasing, more

JLL snags Saira Mohan from Colliers, Ralph Gilbertsen leaves CBRE

From left: Britton Derkac, Ralph Gilbertsen, and Saira Mohan
From left: Britton Derkac, Ralph Gilbertsen, and Saira Mohan (LinkedIn, Getty)

Recent Chicago real estate career changes point to movement across the commercial sector, as the city’s office vacancy rates make for stiffer competition among leading professionals.

➤Britton Derkac’s 14 years at EQ Office have paid off with a promotion. The company, which is owned by Blackstone and manages an office portfolio of 20 million square feet, announced Monday that Derkac is its new head of leasing.

Derkac will oversee leasing activity within the EQ portfolio — it includes Chicago’s tallest building, Willis Tower, the tallest tower in suburban Chicago, Oakbrook Terrace Tower, which is being marketed for sale, and properties around the country. He will also manage client and broker relationships.

The career change comes just after Willis Tower unveiled a $500 million renovation that the Blackstone affiliate kicked off before the pandemic and became even more necessary as a result of the health crisis, which has diminished demand in buildings lacking updated amenities. Similar overhauls, albeit on smaller scales, have been required to increase interest in a number of downtown Chicago office buildings amid the health crisis.

Derkac said his career move is coming at “a pivotal moment in the industry,” and promised that EQ will shape the workplace’s evolution by designing space “that not only fits, but exceeds future needs.”

➤Saira Mohan is moving to JLL’s retail agency team representing 105 property listings across the Chicago area with her departure from Colliers.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

With Colliers, she developed relationships with occupier clients alongside brokers, and provided real estate services to various lifestyle, hospitality and digitally native retail brands such as Shopify Partners. She has specialized in helping digital brands transition from e-commerce to brick-and-mortar stores.

➤Longtime CBRE executive Ralph Gilbertsen has moved on from the world’s largest commercial brokerage, joining suburban Deer Park-based Government Investment Partners.

The move comes after more than three decades with CBRE, where he was last in its Chicago office managing a team of seven who served multi-market needs of corporations including McDonald’s and IBM.

In his new role, Gilbertsen will oversee Government Investment Partners’ property management business. The firm specializes in acquiring, developing or re-purposing properties mostly leased to federal, state and other government agencies. His duties will also include managing overall corporate operations and investor relations and fundraising strategies.

Sam Lounsberry

Read more