Changes in Store for Grubb & Ellis as Peters Departs

Today’s departure of Scott Peters as CEO of Grubb & Ellis Co. may be the most dramatic change at the top since the firm’s merger with NNN Realty Advisors last December, and industry insiders say that more changes may be in store. “It’s going through the trials and tribulations of acquisition,” an executive with knowledge of the recent dynamics at Grubb & Ellis told CPN today, speaking on condition of anonymity. Grubb & Ellis disclosed Peters’ move this morning in a statement, saying only that he had left to pursue other interests and that the resignation is effective immediately. Gary Hunt, an independent director on Grubb & Ellis’ board, will serve as interim CEO during the search for Peters’ successor. Meanwhile, Peters will continue as chairman & CEO of Grubb & Ellis Healthcare REIT and executive vice president of Grubb & Ellis Apartment REIT. The executive also speculated that Peters’ departure may have been connected to the attempt by Anthony Thompson, Grubb & Ellis’s former chairman and still its second-largest stockholder, to return to the board of directors. As reported by CPN, Thompson left earlier this year to start his own company, but has expressed dismay about Grubb & Ellis’s poor stock performance, among what he sees as other problems. As a result, he recently asked the board for a seat, saying he has a strategy to turn the company around. So far the board has not granted Thompson’s request; in a separate announcement today, Grubb & Ellis said that it had tapped Devin Murphy, a managing director for Coventry Real Estate Advisors, to take a vacant seat on the board. Peters, who had been a NNN Realty executive, was also at the forefront of efforts to shake up Grubb & Ellis. “The intention was all very good,” said the executive. Major elements of the initiative include making Grubb & Ellis more competitive, stepping up training, incorporating other technology and other steps. But as is often the case with mergers, not all executives and managers agreed with the plans for change, and some have left. But the executive predicted that Grubb & Ellis will come through its current rough patch in good shape: “Once they get all the changes settled, I think (they’ll be fine.)”Click here for Blog Comments