By Daniel Geiger
Mitch Rudin is stepping down as CB Richard Ellis’s top New York
executive to become president and CEO of U.S. commercial operations for Brookfield Properties both Brookfield and CBRE announced on Monday morning.
Matt Van Buren, head of CBRE’s midtown brokerage operations, will take over as Rudin’s replacement on an interim basis and Cherrie Nanninga, the company’s New York area chief operating officer, will also share additional management responsibilities CBRE stated.
Mary Ann Tighe, CBRE’s New York area CEO who oversaw the company’s New York operations jointly with Rudin, said that he had let her know last week he was taking the opportunity and that his departure from the company was amicable.
“I told him I miss him already but I understand why this is so exciting, what a great opportunity and what a great organization,” Tighe said.
Brookfield is one of the largest office landlords in North America with a portfolio of over 90 million s/f of commercial space spread across major cities in the U.S. and Canada. The firm is also one of the biggest landlords in the city, with a concentration of holdings in lower Manhattan where it owns almost 13 million s/f of space in the World Financial Center, One Liberty Plaza, and One New York Plaza. The firm also owns three buildings in midtown and has a large development parcel near the West Side rail yards where it is planning to build millions of s/f of additional commercial space.
Tighe credited Rudin, who had been at CBRE and its predecessors, the Edward S. Gordon Company and later Insignia ESG for 21 years, in part for her success as one of the city’s top commercial leasing brokers, explaining that his deft management allowed her to focus on
“Mitch and I collaborated on strategy and hiring for the company but his focus and ability to handle the day to day operations was what allowed me to reengage my brokerage practice and become one of the top brokers for this firm,” Tighe said.
Rudin began his career in the real estate services industry at ESG, a real estate services company that eventually merged with Insignia to become one of the leading brokerage companies in the city. During his tenure, Rudin was a key part of what has widely been considered one of the best management teams in the brokerage business and also helped build CBRE’s vaunted agency practice. Tighe said that he was instrumental in developing education and recruitment pipelines that have made CBRE’s large brokerage group one of the most talented and successful in the industry.
While other brokerage firms allow top dealmakes to jointly man managerial posts, Rudin was an early figure to focus exclusively on his leadership role, which avoided conflicts of interest. Many brokers who had worked under him described him as someone who adhered to strict ethical and heirachical protocols, never allowing top deal makers special privleges or the chance to circumvent layers of management to curry favors from him.
At CBRE, where many executives commute to the firm’s Grand Central headquarters from Westchester, Rudin’s weekly basketball games at his Scarsdale home were a popular gathering for many brokers outside of work. A broker at the company who participates in the games said that Rudin let brokers at the company know that he will continue to host them.
Other sources said that despite Rudin’s success and popularity, he had frustrated ambitions to rise to a more senior position within CBRE that was national in scope. Moving to Brookfield would appear to make Rudin one of the top real estate executives in the country.
Rudin’s appointment came with a succession of other management changes at Brookfield. Ric Clark, Brookfield’s chairman and CEO, will be giving up the title of president and will no longer be chairman of the company’s Canadian arm, which was handed to Jan Sucharda, who had previously been Brookfield’s president of Candian operations the company stated. Rudin will be now be the company’s most senior
executive focused on the U.S., while Dennis Friedrich and Tom Farely, existing Brookfield executives, were promoted to share Clark’s relinquished role as president and executive responsibilities of Brookfield’s global operations. In addition to North America, Brookfield owns assets in South America, Australia and London.
Steve Siegel, a high level leasing deal maker at CBRE who had been a top management executive at Insignia ESG, said that Rudin’s skills and experience were suited to Brookfield’s needs.
“Brookfield has millions of s/f nationally kind of under the radar that I think they want to get out there in a more prominent way and Mitch is clearly suited for that,” Siegel said. “I gave him a role [at ESG] in the early 1990s to help build our agency practice and he helped make it the best in the industry so I think that Mitch comes in with the unique combination of assets for this job. I think this job is a huge opportunity and is going to reinvigorate him.”