C&W Taps Forst for CEO Position

Job filled. Cushman & Wakefield has just tapped Edward Forst, onetime global co-head of Goldman, Sachs & Co.'s Investment Management Division, to serve as the new president & CEO of the global commercial real estate services firm.
Ed Forst CW President  CEO

Edward Forst

Job filled. Cushman & Wakefield Inc. has just tapped Edward Forst, onetime global co-head of Goldman, Sachs & Co.’s Investment Management Division, to serve as the new president & CEO of the global commercial real estate services firm.

The selection of Forst for the top job comes roughly six months after former president & CEO Glenn Rufrano resigned the post, which he’d held for two years, and just one month after Rufrano returned to his former stomping grounds, O’Connor Capital Partners, as chairman & CEO. Since Rufrano’s departure, Carlo Barel di Sant’Albano, chairman of C&W, has been serving as interim president & CEO. Now he prepares to turn the reins over to Forst.

Forst, who most recently served as an advisor to private investment firm Fenway Partners, comes to C&W well-armed. He once held the position of chief administrative officer at Goldman Sachs, where he spent many years of his 30-year career in various executive roles. He also served as the very first executive vice president and principal operating officer of Harvard University, his undergraduate alma mater, and did a stint as advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. In a nutshell, he brings to the table an expertise in international asset management, capital markets, and operational leadership.

As the head of the largest privately‐held commercial real estate services firm in the world, Forst will have his hands full. “Cushman & Wakefield is a powerful and iconic brand with unparalleled capabilities in providing creative and innovative real estate services and solutions to a global client base,” Forst said in a prepared statement. “I am honored to lead Cushman & Wakefield and am particularly excited to work with this world-class team of professionals to build on the company’s strengths and capitalize on the many opportunities ahead.”

Opportunities, indeed. The global economic crisis and the real estate market downturn continue to shrink in the rear view mirror, and the road is paved for continued progress in 2014. “Fundamentally, economic conditions in the U.S. will definitely be better and we’ll probably see an improvement as well in Europe and we’ll see Asia Pacific continuing to grow, so there are some healthy fundamentals supporting real estate,” Kenneth McCarthy, Chief Economist with C&W, told Commercial Property Executive.

However, it’s never all wine and roses. For example, McCarthy said, more companies are making the effort to be more efficient in their use of office space, which will result in less growth per person. As C&W notes in its 2014-2015 global office forecast, “efficiency and quality rule.” Smaller footprints and higher quality space are global trends that appear to be here for the long term.

And, he added, even as employment goes on the upswing, we may not see as much growth in demand as we had in the past, but conditions will vary. “Areas that have strength in certain industries–including energy and technology–will do well,” McCarthy noted. “Overall, we’re optimistic that next year will be a healthier year than ’13.”

Forst will begin shepherding C&W through the improving global real estate market as president & CEO effective January 6, 2014.