Russell Reynolds Associates Appoints Co-Leader of Global Real Estate Practice

February 27, 2024 – Global leadership advisory firm Russell Reynolds Associates has named Gemma Burgess as a managing director to join Deb Barbanel as co-lead of the global real estate practice. She will be jointly based in the firm’s New York and Chicago offices. “We welcome Gemma and the experience she brings to the Russell Reynolds team,” said Constantine Alexandrakis, CEO of Russell Reynolds Associates. “With her wealth of knowledge across international markets and both institutional and non-institutional capital in the global real estate industry, we look forward to what we can accomplish under her leadership alongside Deb Barbanel’s in this complex and expanding industry.”

Ms. Burgess most recently served as CEO and vice chairman at Ferguson Partners, a boutique executive search and consulting firm. She brings 20 years of search and consulting experience to her clients in private equity, investment management, real estate investment trust (REIT), structured finance, hedge funds and investment banking. Prior to her 16-year tenure at Ferguson Partners, she handled non-executive appointments at Hanson Green and worked in executive search at Ramsey Hall.

Ms. Burgess is passionate about promoting ethnic, gender, and socio-economic diversity, having participated in global corporate diversity initiatives and conferences, including developing diversity partnerships with real estate groups such as the Real Estate Executive Council (REEC).

“Having Gemma as part of Russell Reynolds’ leadership team brings innovative thinking and well-developed insights to our teammates and clients in the real estate sector and beyond,” said Deb Barbanel, co-leader of Russell Reynolds Associates’ global real estate practice. “With her experience and expertise, we are well positioned in the new year to navigate the ever-changing global real estate landscape and together drive business growth.”

“I am ready to hit the ground running to help clients navigate the dynamic, challenging real estate environment,” said Ms. Burgess. “My experience, combined with the team’s functional expertise and industry knowledge across private markets, strongly positions us to advise the world’s top real estate industry leaders.”

Russell Reynolds Associates is a global leadership advisory and search firm. Its 520-plus consultants in 47 offices work with public, private, and non-profit organizations across all industries and regions. The firm also conducts in-depth organizational culture assessment and measures the cultural fit of key leadership and candidates in the following areas: arts and culture, global development, higher education, non-profit health and human services, public sector, social justice and advocacy, as well as trade and professional associations.

Related: Russell Reynolds Associates Adds Veteran Search Consultants

The firm provides executive search services across all areas of the global media, entertainment, technology, and athletics markets. The firm’s consultants bring the experience and ability to assess competencies and cultural fit of board members, CEOs, senior functional leadership and players, with expertise in professional sports teams and leagues (CEOs, general managers, coaches and players); digital, media and entertainment; and technology-based start-ups.

New Leader in China

Russell Reynolds recently appointed Sherman Leung as the head of Greater China practice, taking over the leadership role from Grace Cheng to lead the business growth and operations in China. “With over 20 years of experience, Sherman Leung possesses extraordinary vision and leadership in market expansion and client success,” said Ms. Cheng, non-executive chairman. “His appointment indicates a significant step to the firm’s development in China. I believe that under his leadership, the firm will effectively execute our strategy in the Chinese market and create sustainable value for clients.”

Russell Reynolds Associates Acquires Kilberry
The addition of CEO Richard Davis and his 10-member leadership advisory team based in Toronto is expected to fortify RRA’s already strong capabilities in this area and help drive growth throughout the Canadian market.

Mr. Leung brings his global network and consulting experience to the firm and serves clients with advisory services. He will continue to serve the firm as non-executive chairman of Greater China.

Recent Acquisition

In November, Russell Reynolds acquired Savage Partners, a boutique executive search firm that serves growth equity and private equity-backed software companies across North America. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Intrepid Investment Bankers acted as the strategic advisor to Russell Reynolds Associates in the transaction. Hunt Scanlon Ventures, a Connecticut-based human capital M&A advisory firm, served as the strategic advisor to Savage Partners. “Savage Partners is a trophy property and their acquisition by Russell Reynolds Associates will be beneficial to clients across the tech space as the sector continues to evolve with its insatiable demand for senior-level leadership talent,” said Scott A. Scanlon, CEO of Hunt Scanlon Ventures, based in Greenwich, Conn.

Savage Partners, founded in 2005, works with executives and investors across the technology industry. The Savage partners team will join Russell Reynolds’ Boston and Miami offices. Since co-founding the firm, Mr. Savage has completed over 200 senior executive searches for middle market, private equity-backed technology firms in infrastructure software, SaaS, eCommerce, consumer internet, and the mobile space. Previously, he worked for executive search firms Heidrick & Struggles and Ramsey Beirne Associates. Mr. Savage also built the internal recruiting function at Time Warner.

Related: Russell Reynolds Associates Names Chief People Officer

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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