Cushman’s Brett White taking 25% salary cut

Brokerage’s COO, CFO and president are each taking 20% cuts

Cushman & Wakefield CEO Brett White
Cushman & Wakefield CEO Brett White

The growing list of real estate executives taking pay cuts amid the pandemic now includes Cushman & Wakefield CEO Brett White.

White is forgoing 25 percent of his base salary for the rest of the year effective Monday, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. CFO Duncan Palmer and COO Michelle MacKay are also forgoing 20 percent of their base salaries for the same time period, and company president John Forrestor will take a 20 percent salary cut effective May 1, the filings say.

The executives will donate those portions of their salaries to Cushman’s new “global employee assistance fund,” part of a $5 million effort the company is making to assist employees impacted by the pandemic.

The fund will feature two components: an immediate relief fund to quickly distribute up to $250 for eligible employees who submit requests, and a disaster and hardship fund designed to give larger payouts to employees more greatly impacted by the crisis.

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“We have a responsibility to care for our employees with the same level of dedication that they’re showing our clients right now,” White said in a statement.

Multiple other real estate executives are taking similar pay cuts as the pandemic continues to slow down their industry. CBRE Group CEO Bob Sulentic, for example, is foregoing his $1 million base salary. Other executives in the CBRE C-Suite will take a 15 percent reduction to their salaries. Leadership at Newmark Knight Frank, an affiliate of Cantor Fitzgerald, was also asked to take pay cuts and eliminate positions.

Vornado CEO Steve Roth is waiving half of his base salary for the rest of the year, while other Vornado executives are taking 30 percent pay cuts. Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson and Wyndham CEO Geoffrey Ballotti are both forgoing their entire base salaries for the rest of the year, while other real estate companies including Realogy, Redfin and Compass have also announced executive pay cuts.

Overall, more than 300 companies in the country had cut executive pay as of April 14, according to the data firm Equilar.

Cushman appears to already have an eye on what a post-coronavirus world will look like. The company’s Netherlands branch has drawn up a concept for an office that would adhere to social distancing measures once the coronavirus no longer poses as immediate of a threat.