Changes at the Top at Related Cos.
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor
Stephen M. Ross, founder of Related Cos., has stepped out of his CEO shoes and into the role of executive chairman, and with the move, which comes 40 years after Ross established the global real estate company, other big changes at the top have followed.
Ross rather casually and unexpectedly announced his plans last week at his alma mater, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. According to the school’s paper, The Michigan Daily, during an event at the university’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business, Ross said he would step down from the position and Jeff T. Blau, president and 22-year veteran at the company, would become the new CEO. Ross and Blau have a connection that goes beyond business; Blau is also a U of M alum of note.
Ross’s status as a guiding force at Related will not change. He will continue to spearhead global business strategy and he’ll remain in charge of bringing to fruition the company’s multi-billion Hudson Yards mixed-use endeavor in New York City.
When it comes to the company’s strategic direction, Blau is now at the reins. He will juggle the tasks of managing the company, pursuing new development opportunities and overseeing corporate acquisitions and financing activities. It’s a big job but he will, of course, have help.
Bruce A. Beal Jr., former executive vice president, has been pushed up the ladder to the position of president, a role that puts him in charge of Related’s day-to-day development process for projects running the gamut. Additionally, Kenneth P. Wong moves from vice chairman to chief operating officer and director of international development. Wong will not only manage day-to-day administrative, corporate and business functions, he will also oversee expansion activities in the United States as well as internationally.
“Related’s vertical integration, talented team of executives and employees and access to capital offers nearly unlimited potential for growth and with the strength of this management team, we will be able to further optimize our competitive capabilities, continue to grow the platform and expeditiously capitalize on new opportunities,” Ross said.