Game Changers: CPE Reveals the 2015 Executives of the Year

The leaders recognized by their peers as this year's top executives are reshaping the industry.


In a year filled to the brim with bold, game-changing moves, it seems inevitable that those voted the industry’s top executives in CPE’s 19th annual awards program are on the short list of those transforming commercial real estate. Joseph Stettinius, Cushman & Wakefield Inc.’s CEO for the Americas, was voted Executive of the Year, the top award. Stettinius was instrumental in DTZ’s acquisition of his previous firm, Cassidy Turley, as well as its acquisition of Cushman & Wakefield. In further acknowledgement of his achievements, he was also selected Service Executive of the Year.

Joseph Stettinius

Joseph Stettinius, CPE’s 2015 Executive of the Year and Service Executive of the Year

Stettinius’s awards, like those in all categories, reflect the high regard of his peers; CPE’s Executives of the Year are chosen by confidential vote of the CPE 100, a diverse, nationwide group of industry leaders.

Other top winners included Clarion Partners’ David Gilbert, named Investor of the Year for such accomplishments as re-acquiring Gables Residential in a $3.2 billion deal. Jeffrey Hines of the eponymous Houston-based firm earned the nod as Developer of the Year; in addition, he won honorable mention in the Office Property Executive of the Year category.

Another Houston-based executive, HFF Inc. President Jody Thornton, was voted Financier of the Year. On Thornton’s watch, HFF executes complex, high-profile deals, such as an $878 million loan for a Los Angeles multifamily property that set a record for a single-property Freddie Mac financing.

These executives find themselves in distinguished company. The Retail Property Executive of the Year, David Simon, oversees a $2.4 billion development and expansion pipeline in the U.S. as CEO Simon Property Group Inc.  For the fifth time in a row, Prologis Inc. CEO Hamid Moghadam was voted Industrial Property Executive of the Year. Sample 2015 highlight: Teaming up with Norges Bank Investment Management to buy KTR Capital Partners for $5.9 billion.

The executives honored this year lead platforms of remarkable scale, complexity and diversity. Christopher Nassetta, a repeat first-place winner in the hospitality category, can count upwards of 1,500 properties in the Hilton Worldwide pipeline.

At Equity Residential, David Neithercut is directing a major streamlining strategy highlighted by the in-progress $5.4 billion sale of a 72-property portfolio to Starwood Capital Group. And under the leadership of Stephen Furnary, CPE’s Office Property Executive of the Year, Clarion Partners can detect the value in both a Boston Beaux Arts gem and a Wall Street trophy tower.

For more information about the 2015 Executives of the Year, read the December issue of CPE. The complete list of winners follows:

First Place Awards

Executive of the Year/Service Executive of the Year: Joseph Stettinius, CEO Americas, Cushman & Wakefield Inc.

Investor of the Year: David Gilbert, president & chief investment officer, Clarion Partners

Developer of the Year: Jeffrey Hines, President & CEO, Hines

Financier of the Year: Joe B. Thornton, President, HFF Inc.; Executive Managing Director & Managing Member, HFF L.P.

Office Property Executive of the Year: Stephen Furnary, Chairman & CEO, Clarion Partners

Retail Property Executive of the Year: David Simon, Chairman & CEO, Simon Property Group Inc.

Industrial Property Executive of the Year: Hamid Moghadam, CEO, Prologis Inc.

Hospitality Property Executive of the Year: Christopher Nassetta, President & CEO, Hilton Worldwide

Multifamily Property Executive of the Year: David Neithercut, President & CEO, Equity Residential

Lifetime Achievement Award: Alan Leventhal, Founder, Chairman & CEO, Beacon Capital Partners

 Honorable Mention

Executive of the Year: Bob Faith, Founder, Chairman & CEO, Greystar; Tom Garbutt, senior managing director & head of Global Real Estate, TIAA-CREF; Chairman, TH Real Estate

Investor of the Year: Tom Garbutt, TIAA-CREF/TH Real Estate

Developer of the Year: Jeff Blau, CEO, Related Cos.; Daniel Queenan, CEO, Trammell Crow Co.

Service Executive of the Year: Larry Heard, president & CEO, Transwestern; Greg O’Brien, CEO Americas, JLL

Financier of the Year: Eduardo Padilla, CEO of NorthMarq Capital and NorthMarq Cos.; Willy Walker, Chairman & CEO, Walker & Dunlop Inc.

Office Property Executive of the Year: Jeffrey Hines, President & CEO, Hines; Scott Rechler, Chairman & CEO, RXR Realty LLC

Retail Property Executive of the Year: Conor Flynn, President & Chief Operating Officer, Kimco Realty Corp.; Michael Glimcher, Vice Chairman & CEO, WP Glimcher.

Industrial Property Executive of the Year: Len O’Donnell, CEO, USAA Real Estate Co.; Ross Perot Jr., Chairman, Hillwood

Hospitality Property Executive of the Year: Adam Aron, CEO, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.; Mark Hoplamazian, President, CEO & Director, Hyatt Corp.

Multifamily Executive of the Year: Susan Ansel, President & CEO, Gables Residential