Industry Leader William Millichap Dies at 76

The real estate innovator had served as co-chairman of Marcus & Millichap since 2000.
William A. Millichap. Image courtesy of Marcus & Millichap

William A. Millichap, co-chairman of Marcus & Millichap, has died after a year-long battle with cancer at the age of 76, the real estate brokerage announced. George M. Marcus remains as chairman of the NYSE-listed firm, which is led by President & CEO Hessam Nadji.

Millichap joined the company—then called G.M. Marcus Co.—shortly after its founding in 1971 and helped build it into a brokerage powerhouse that employs more than 2,000 investment sales and financing professionals today. The Calabasas, Calif.-based company, which has more than 80 offices across the U.S. and Canada, last year closed nearly 10,000 investment deals for private and institutional investors.

The innovation-focused executive played a key role in the evolution and professionalization of the brokerage industry. “As George recalled in his tribute, Bill really led the effort to have an electronic database for our business as early as 1978,” Nadji told Commercial Property Executive“It was the first time in the industry that it had been done.”

Millichap’s efforts added to those of Marcus, who pioneered the concept of exclusive representation for commercial investment sales, the creation of a platform that specialized in investment real estate only, and of a managed salesforce dedicated to that space.

“All these new concepts that had been laid down as the foundation by George when he started the company were then elevated significantly by Bill,” Nadji said. “He advanced our training programs to a sophisticated and formal series of modules. And he was truly a pioneer with technology.”

“A sense of loyalty”

Millichap earned a B.S. in Economics from the University of Maryland and served as a U.S. Navy officer before starting his career at the nascent firm as an investment broker. He rose to the position of regional manager of the Palo Alto, Calif., office in the mid-1970s and later served as president and a director of the company from 1985 to 2000. Millichap was co-chairman of the board from 2000 until his passing, during which time he also acted in an advisory capacity to the company.

He also served as the managing partner of Marcus & Millichap Venture Partners, a proptech investment affiliate, in which role he founded AllApartments.com, an online property marketplace that was later acquired by Homestore. In addition, the longtime industry leader sat on the board of directors of Essex Property Trust from 1994 to 2009 and LoopNet Inc. from 1999 to 2008.

Even when he transitioned out of day-to-day operations and became co-chair, he remained very interested and engaged in the firm’s strategy and execution, Nadji noted. “I always looked forward to my ‘Bill Calls’ to check in. He attended our events and networking traditions up to just a few years ago.”

“His relationships throughout the company with agents, with our managers and with our clients were an asset to the firm,” Nadji added. “And he was so personable, so graceful, intelligent and always looking to add value. That created countless relationships and a sense of loyalty throughout the organization that endures.”