C&W Taps Former NYPD Head Kelly as Prez of Risk Management Services

Cushman & Wakefield has chosen former New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly to head up a newly created global Risk Management Services division to advise clients on risk-mitigation solutions.
Raymond  Kelly

Raymond Kelly

Cushman & Wakefield has tapped former New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly to head up a newly created global Risk Management Services division to advise clients on risk-mitigation solutions for cyber terrorism, crisis management, emergency preparedness and other security-related issues.

Kelly, who becomes president of the RMS division, will join the commercial real estate services firm on March 24.

President & CEO Ed Forst noted that Kelly, the longest-serving commissioner in the New York Police Department’s history, had a multitude of offers to choose from when he ended his NYPD tenure and he was pleased that Kelly picked Cushman & Wakefield.

“His proven track record of successfully managing risk in business, law enforcement, public safety, and the military are obvious,” Forst said in a news release. “The risks our global clients face are diverse, disruptive, geographic in scope, and constantly evolving. Adding one of the world’s foremost risk management and security experts to our leadership team will provide our clients the highest level risk management service in the industry and adds incredible power to our brand.”

Forst, who started in the top job at Cushman & Wakefield on Jan. 4, told Commercial Property Executive he has spent much of his first weeks strategizing about how to move the company forward and add different lines of business. He realized that neither Cushman & Wakefield nor its competitors had made a priority of building a business around risk management services.

Ed Forst, C&W

Ed Forst, C&W

“We think it’s a very important long-term business to have,” he said. “We needed a superior leader to bring it to life.”

Forst said he and John Santora, president & CEO, Corporate Occupier & Investor Services, both came up with the same name – Kelly.

“He was intrigued about it from our first outreach” Forst told CPE.

In a prepared statement, Kelly said he was honored to “have the opportunity to lead this groundbreaking new division for Cushman & Wakefield as we work to protect the safety and stability of the firm’s global clients and their assets.”

The new group will offer tailored solutions to manage and mitigate risks around the world, including physical and cyber security intelligence, crisis management, due diligence/site selection and emergency preparedness.

Forst said once Kelly starts at the firm later this month they will establish a framework for how they want to proceed. While he didn’t know how many people would be needed, Forst said they would be building a team with Kelly.

“We get the joy of moving the framework forward with the right leader,” he said.

Since the news of Kelly’s hiring became public, Forst said he has already had calls of interest about the new RMS division.

“I’ve received more calls than I’ve made,” he said.

Forst, a former administrative officer at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., worked with Kelly and the NYPD about 10 years ago on security issues for the financial firm’s new downtown New York City headquarters.

While serving as commissioner, Kelly oversaw a reduction in crime in New York City, including a 40 percent decrease in violent crime over the past 12 years. Following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, he established and built the Counterterrorism and Intelligence Bureaus. In addition to two terms as NYPD commissioner, Kelly had various other positions including Commission of the U.S. Customs Service. He is a retired Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and also holds law and master’s degrees.

Cushman & Wakefield is the world’s largest privately-held commercial real estate services firm with about 250 offices in 60 countries and nearly $4 billion in assets under management.