Blackstone mortgage REIT names new CEO

Blackstone Mortgage Trust president Katie Keenan gets promotion

Blackstone Mortgage Trust CEO Katie Keenan (Blackstone, iStock)
Blackstone Mortgage Trust CEO Katie Keenan (Blackstone, iStock)

Commercial real estate lender Blackstone Mortgage Trust has a new CEO.

Katie Keenan, who has served as the REIT’s president since last year, will succeed current CEO Steve Plavin, who will be overseeing Blackstone Group’s European debt business, the Wall Street Journal reported. The company announced the move in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.

Keenan joined Blackstone in 2012 and became part of the company’s management team in 2018. She was promoted to president in 2020; in that role, she focused on the company’s investments, operations and strategy, according to the filing.

Her promotion is partly because of her strong performance last year, when the REIT, which went public in 2013, had to navigate choppy waters of the pandemic-driven downturn, according to the Journal.

The firm’s $18.7 billion portfolio includes senior mortgages backed by assets such as office buildings, warehouses, multifamily buildings. It issued $1.7 billion in new loans in the first quarter.

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“We’re back in growth mode,” Keenan told the publication.

She noted that it will take time for the office market to recover from the current downturn prompted by the pandemic, and the subsequent shift to working from home. But she projected that the firm’s office portfolio will perform well, since it’s occupied by tenants who value offices, such as biotech companies, or entertainment firms that need to be closer to Hollywood studios.

“New, quality buildings with amenities are going to be where employers are going to want to be in order to bring the talent back,” she said.

[WSJ] — Akiko Matsuda