By Orlando Lee Rodriguez
Newmark Grubb Knight Frank partner Richard Sexton has been awarded a MBE by the Queen of England.
Following in the footsteps of his grandfather and great-grandfather, New York based Sexton will receive the distinguished Member of the British Empire (MBE) award at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace in London for his charitable work with the UK and British Commonwealth community in New York.
“It’s quite overwhelming,” said Sexton. “It’s a huge honor for us Brits to receive an honor like this from the queen. It’s a mixture of being overwhelmed, excited and extremely proud.”
In addition to his role at NGKF assisting the real estate needs of U.S. and international clients, Sexton, 42, serves as the second vice president of the St. George’s Society of New York. The organization, founded in 1770 by the first English settlers to New York, provides advice and charitable relief to immigrants from the UK and its commonwealth provinces that have fallen on hard times.
“The charity was getting older and was struggling to bring in new members,” said Sexton. “What I took the challenge up of doing was to increase awareness to bring in a lot of new members. We have had 250 new members join in 18 months.”
The organization also provides scholarships to UK and British commonwealth students at Lehman College in the Bronx.
Sexton credits the executive environment at NGKF as being one that fosters charitable work from of its employees.
“One of things that inspired me is that my company is very philanthropic in its nature,” he said. “In Jeff Gural we have one of the great philanthropists of New York City and I think that rubs off on a lot of us here.”
The Order of the British Empire award was created in 1917 by King George V during World War I to recognize individuals who made contributions to the war effort throughout the empire. Today it recognizes charitable service to humanity.
Sexton’s great-grandfather, who worked as a civil servant for the Crown, received the award in 1951 from King George VI. In 1956, his grandfather, who worked on the British railways, received his MBE from Queen Elizabeth.
“My family is extremely proud that I have followed in their footsteps,” said Sexton.
A New Yorker now for 12 years, Sexton is also the director of international business development for NGKF, working with European and Asian companies on real estate projects in the United States and Latin America.
Prior to his arrival in New York, he headed the NGKF transaction team in Poland.
Sexton is among 1,000 Brits selected to receive an honor from Queen Elizabeth this year that includes fashion designer Stella McCartney, actor Ewan McGregor and a host of athletes, business executives and philanthropists.
His colleagues won’t have to get used to calling him “Sir” either. Only the Knights Bachelor are called “Sir” and women receiving the honor are “Dame.”
Sir Mick Jagger was knighted in 2003 along with Keith Richards.