Cresa’s New CEO Aims to Double Size of Firm within Five Years

Cresa’s newly appointed CEO plans to double the tenant advisory firm’s staff and revenue within the next five years.
James Underhill, Cresa CEO

James Underhill, CEO, Cresa

Washington, D.C.—James Underhill has been named CEO of Cresa, the world’s largest commercial real estate firm focused solely on advising tenants and occupiers of space.

Underhill’s bold objective for Cresa is to double the company’s staff and revenue within the next five years. Underhill will focus on the firm’s growth in domestic and global markets, bolstering capabilities in select industry sectors, and enhancing the firm’s integrated services. He is committed to “furthering the firm’s leadership as an innovator in the tenant advisory space.”

Underhill, based in Cresa’s Washington, D.C., office, replaces Richard Rhodes, who became Cresa’s interim CEO in 2015. Rhodes continues to serve on the Executive Committee and the firm’s Board of Directors.

Most recently, Underhill served as strategic advisor on Cresa’s Board of Directors. Before that, he was CEO of the Americas at Cushman & Wakefield, the world’s largest, full-service, privately held real estate services firm. Previously, he was founder and president of The Staubach Co. – Northeast, which became the company’s largest region before its sale to JLL in 2008.

“This is a terrific opportunity to help Cresa continue its global expansion,” Underhill said in prepared remarks. “I have deep respect for Cresa’s business model – particularly its singular focus on being the world’s best tenant advisory firm. This drives the firm’s leadership initiatives and consulting orientation, and it leads to negotiating the best outcomes for clients – free of the conflicts that compromise most traditional real estate firms.”

“Jim is the ideal choice for us,” added Cresa chairman Matt Feeney. “His hiring is the next step in our strategic plan. Working with Jim as an advisor to our board, it became clear that Jim was the right person to lead us. Jim embraces our partnership model and our culture of 100 percent employee ownership. He is a thought leader who knows what it takes to enhance our services and expand our platform. Having a leader who embraces change and innovation is critical.”

Underhill, a resident of the District of Columbia, received his MBA from Harvard Business School and taught at Harvard College. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Accounting from Washington & Lee University.

Underhill has served on the boards of numerous charitable organizations, including Junior Achievement, the Wolf Trap Foundation of the Performing Arts, Neediest Kids, the National Rehabilitation Hospital, and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. He is a member of the World Presidents Organization and the Economic Club of Washington.

Cresa is the world’s largest tenant-only commercial real estate firm. In representing tenants exclusively—no landlords or developers—Cresa provides unbiased, conflict-free advice. Its integrated services cover every aspect of a real estate assignment, including strategic planning, employee demographics, workplace strategy, site selection, incentives negotiation, market research, transaction management, project financing, project management, portfolio management, and relocation services. Cresa offers clients customized solutions with more than 60 offices in 75 markets worldwide.

Image courtesy of Cresa