Meet the co-CEOs: Samantha and Michael Rudin

Siblings take over NYC real estate dynasty’s portfolio

Profile of Samantha Rudin Earls and Michael Rudin

A photo illustration of Michael Rudin and Samantha Rudin Earls (pictured in middle) (Getty, Rudin Management)

Twenty years ago, it was not a given that Samantha Rudin Earls and Michael Rudin would eventually take over Rudin Management, one of New York City’s real estate dynasties.

“There was never any downward pressure on us to get involved in the business,” Michael explained during a panel on real estate family succession several years ago. “It was a natural decision that both Sammy and I came to. We had totally different paths and ways of getting there.”

They will reach the top in January, when the siblings will become co-CEOs, succeeding their father, Bill Rudin, the company announced last week.

Michael, 38, began interning at Rudin Management in high school. When Bill Rudin’s father, Lew Rudin, died from cancer in 2001 at the age 74, Michael decided to take a semester off during his junior year to shadow his father at work.

After heading west to attend the University of Colorado and then getting a master’s degree at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, he joined the family company in 2008. He worked on projects including the Dock 72 office development in Brooklyn and Rudin Ventures, the venture-capital fund that’s invested in companies including Latch and VTS.

Samantha, 39, took a different path. She studied at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts to pursue a career in theater.

“I didn’t have the courage to become an actress,” she said on an episode of the Stoler Report in 2016. “Theater training was very hard and it became almost very comforting and soothing for me to start working for my family.”

Samantha joined at her mother’s suggestion, and worked on residential projects such as a renovation of 254 East 68th Street — a rental the family built in 1974 — and the conversion of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village into condominiums, where she played a key role.

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She will be in charge of the family’s 17-building, 4.7-million-square-foot multifamily portfolio upon ascending to her new post in two months, while Michael will spearhead the office side, which has 15 buildings spanning 10.1 million square feet.

The Rudins declined to comment for this story.

Bill Rudin, speaking at the succession panel next to his daughter and son in 2018, said his children would have to work to reinvigorate the impressive but aging portfolio their predecessors left them.

“The good news is we’ve inherited this incredible portfolio,” he said. “The bad news is [the properties] are 30, 40, 50, 60 years old, and you have to invest in your buildings.” That would soon become even more important and challenging, with the dramatic increases in remote work and interest rates.

The Rudin family has been making other moves in recent years to prepare for succession. The company in 2019 sold the 21-story office building at One Whitehall Street for $181 million. The family almost never parts with properties, but made the deal as part of estate planning following the death of Jack Rudin in 2016.

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The Rudins also put the 27-story 110 Wall Street up for sale, but a deal didn’t materialize.

Bill Rudin said that when it comes to major moves, the Rudins running the business consult with other members of the extended family.

“When we have a big decision to make about a certain building we get on the phone or have a meeting and communicate with them, and try to keep as cohesive as possible,” he said. “And if somebody has a particular issue, they pick up the phone and call.”