Friday, September 11, 2015

Forest City reorganizes as REIT conversion approaches, but New York office functions remain

A press release yesterday, Forest City announces new organizational structure, indicates a significant reorganization in anticipation of becoming a real estate investment trust (REIT), but, interestingly enough, a decision to leave the New York operations--the largest single chunk of its business--as a standalone.

The press release, with emphases added:
Forest City Enterprises, Inc., (NYSE: FCEA and FCEB) today announced that the company will move to a new organizational structure to better align with its strategies and signature strength in urban, mixed-use real estate, while also increasing efficiency and improving operating margins.
"Over the past several years, we have been transforming Forest City by focusing on core products and strong urban markets, improving our balance sheet and debt metrics, driving operational excellence and, most recently, committing to convert to a real estate investment trust," said David LaRue, Forest City president and chief executive officer. "Our new structure continues that transformation by better aligning the way we are organized with our strategies and strengths, while retaining the strong brands and local presence we have built in our core markets. We also believe the changes will enhance our competitive position through improved efficiency and lower costs that will contribute to increased operating margins."
The new structure will be effective concurrent with the company's planned REIT conversion on January 1, 2016. It eliminates the company's current strategic business units, which are organized primarily around asset type (retail, office and apartments) and replaces them with a structure organized around function (operations, development and support services). Highlights of the new structure, along with the senior leaders who will report directly to LaRue, include:
Bringing together most of the company's commercial and residential property management, asset management and leasing into a unified group, led by Duane Bishop, to focus resources on the operating portfolio.
Combining most of the company's residential and commercial development into a single group, co-led by Ron Ratner and Jim Ratner, to drive development in markets such as Washington, D.C., Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Recognizing the company's strong brand presence and portfolio in New York City, MaryAnne Gilmartin will continue to lead development and residential and office asset management in that market. Bruce Ratner will remain as executive chairman of Forest City Ratner Companies.Maintaining a continued focus on balance sheet improvement, capital needs, and prudent financial management, Bob O'Brien will lead the company's finance/treasury, accounting, planning & analysis, and related functions.
Shifting more support services across the company to a shared-services model, led by Geri Presti, legal and insurance, Stephanie Dorsey, strategic initiatives and corporate operations, and Emily Holiday, human resources. Holiday will succeed current human resources leader Andy Passen upon his retirement at yearend.
"This talented and diverse leadership team has experience, a track record of achievement and a passion for our business," said LaRue. "We believe our new structure will help take Forest City to the next level of success as we strive to achieve our vision of being a real estate leader and partner of choice, creating distinctive places to live, work and shop."

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