Berkadia Taps Wheeler as New CEO

Newly appointed CEO of Berkadia Commercial Mortgage Justin Wheeler shares his 2015 market outlook with CPE.
Justin Wheeler, Berkadia

Justin Wheeler, Berkadia

Justin Wheeler has been officially anointed CEO of Berkadia Commercial Mortgage, the five-year-old joint-venture child of Leucadia National Corp. and Berkshire Hathaway. The appointment comes just nine months after Wheeler took on the role in an interim capacity upon Hugh Frater’s transition to Chairman.

Wheeler has been doing double duty since last April, also serving as COO of Leucadia. Now, he will step down from the latter position to fully immerse himself in the task of leading Berkadia. He believes the company–a leading primary, master and special servicer–is well positioned to continue to thrive.

“2015 should be a strong year for us,” Wheeler told Commercial Property Executive. “We are coming off a record year in both debt originations and investment sales and have the tailwind of the refinance wave. The GSEs and other capital sources seem to be primed for a big year.  Our servicing book is strong, and we continue to look for opportunities to grow in that space.”

Last month, Morningstar Credit Ratings affirmed Berkadia’s ‘MOR CS1’ commercial mortgage primary and master servicer rankings and ‘MOR CS2’ commercial mortgage special servicer ranking, and offered a forecast of stable for all three rankings.

However, Wheeler acknowledges that it won’t be all wine and roses this year, noting that the refinance wave is destined to come to an end and the industry and the market will return to some version of normalcy. “We will need to continue our momentum to compete, win and grow market share,” Wheeler added. “We have durable competitive advantages in multiple areas, including our ownership, our global operation platform and relationships. We believe there is always opportunity to improve and are relentlessly focused on making Berkadia the firm of choice for customers and employees in our market segment.”