October 7, 2016 – New York REIT has retained executive search firm Spencer Stuart as it seeks to identify potential new independent members for its board. In connection with this search, the committee has confirmed that it has engaged in discussions with Michael L. Ashner, Steven Witkoff, and their jointly owned entity, WW Investors LLC. The committee will consider candidates proposed by each of them.
“The New York REIT board is committed to strong corporate governance and our search for independent board members is a top priority,” said P. Sue Perrotty, chair of the committee. “We are focused on a thorough and deliberate process and are pleased to bring on a leading executive search firm to assist us. Spencer Stuart is one of the premier executive search firms, and having their skills and experience available to our committee will help us both identify and recruit the most suitable candidates for these important board roles.”
Randolph C. Read, chairman of the board and member of the committee, said: “Having heard from our stockholders regarding the appointment of new members to our board of directors, we are moving forward to identify the most qualified candidates. We are committed to acting in the best interests of all New York REIT stockholders and are open to constructive ideas to deliver shareholder value.”
The committee consists of Ms. Perrotty, Mr. James Nelson and Mr. Read. Spencer Stuart will work closely with them as it seeks qualified candidates from industry.
New York REIT is a publicly traded real estate investment trust listed on the NYSE that acquires income-producing commercial real estate, including office and retail properties, in New York City. The company seeks to provide its shareholders with both stable dividend income and appreciation potential.
1,800 Board Searches In Three Years
Spencer Stuart’s board practice has a strong presence in local markets, a deep knowledge of governance issues and an international network of experienced consultants. The practice has conducted more than 1,800 board director searches globally over the past 36 months. More than 30 percent of its director placements last year, according to the firm, were women. Clients include public, private equity-backed, major private and family-owned businesses, as well as startups and non-profit organizations. Julie Hembrock Daum serves as head of Spencer Stuart’s North American board practice.
Director recruiting has grown markedly more challenging in recent months, according to recruiters with board practice emphasis. According to Egon Zehnder, heightened expectations now placed on boards have elevated both the professional standards and personal commitment required of all directors.
At the same time, many boards find that the supply of independent-minded ‘board experienced’ directors – especially those who can add vital forms of specialized skills and expertise – is limited, as such candidates are both widely sought after yet sometimes hesitant to take on the intensive responsibilities now required of board service.
As a result, companies continue to turn to executive search firms to help them lure new board members. Most in demand, recruiters report: women, senior leaders with global experience, ethnically diverse professionals, and Millennials.
Here is a brief look at just a small selection of search firms and their recent board work taken from the Hunt Scanlon Media newswire archives:
- Epsen Fuller Group placed Anita Allen as a member of the board of directors at Tingley Rubber Corporation. The company sought a director that would bring diversity of thought and a strong financial background;
- Diversified Search recruited Frederic Cumenal, chief executive officer of Tiffany & Co., to serve as a member of the board of directors at Constellation Brands. Charles King, a managing director in Diversified’s New York office, led the search;
- The Onstott Group assisted A.I.M. Mutual Insurance Companies in the recruitment of Leslie E. Greis to serve on the company’s board of directors. Joe Onstott, managing director, led the assignment. Ms. Greis is the founder and managing member of Perennial Capital Advisors, LLC;
- Greenwich Harbor Partners placed Liz Ritzcovan as a member of the board of directors at The New York Pops. She is the sixth director to be placed on the Pops board by the Greenwich, Conn-based search firm;
- Harvard Group International (HGI) has been selected by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation to recruit six new board members. Chuck Cain, a senior partner active in the firm’s non-profit practice, is heading the search;
- Heidrick & Struggles tapped Mary Dillon as a member of the board of directors at Starbucks Corp. Ms. Dillon is chief executive officer of Ulta Beauty;
- Boutique recruiting firm Barton Executive Search recruited Chris Neugent as a member of Welch’s board of directors. Mr. Neugent was recently president and CEO of Post Consumer Brands;
- American Express has retained Russell Reynolds Associates to help it identify potential new board members. The credit card company’s board members come from backgrounds ranging from healthcare companies to an ivy league school to a sports and entertainment company.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media