Inland American Appoints McGuinness President

Inland American Real Estate has tapped its own Thomas McGuinness to take on the role of president at the REIT after its former president moved on to greener pastures.

There’s been a change at the top of Inland American Real Estate Trust Inc.  The REIT has selected company veteran Thomas P. McGuinness to take on the role of president.

As president, McGuinness is tasked with managing Inland American’s day-to-day operations. His work includes, but is not limited to, overseeing the strategic business plan, investment decisions, asset management and financing functions for the REIT’s 48 million-square-foot group of retail, office and industrial assets, 9,563-unit multi-family portfolio and 100 hotels totaling 17,899 guestrooms.

The longtime executive brings to the job a set of skills honed over a period of 30 years with Inland American, during which time he held a bevy of leadership positions. He kicked off his career with the company at Inland Property Management Inc., where he became president in 1991. Most recently, he served as president of Inland American Business Manager & Advisor Inc., a position he will continue to occupy.

It was on September 18 when McGuinness officially stepped into the role of president of Inland American, and he has hit the ground running with a somewhat singular goal in mind.

“Consistent with the REIT itself, we want to continue to maintain our monthly distribution to our shareholders, and also make sure we’re growing the capital, which are really the assets themselves,” McGuinness told Commercial Property Executive.

The current strategy entails somewhat of a portfolio makeover. “We’re rotating out of some assets,” he said. “We’re selling some of our hotel assets and we’re rotating after we sell them and buying more full-service because we believe that they’ll have more long-term value creation.”

In March, Inland American’s Inland American Lodging Group Inc. subsidiary acquired three best-in-class hotel properties from DiamondRock Hospitality for $262.5 million.

But the changes are not limited to the lodging sector. “We’re going through retail that had great value during the recession [and focusing on] necessity-based, grocery-anchored shopping centers. And we’re expanding student housing. Our apartments have reached our optimum value so we’re selling [from our] conventional multifamily portfolio and rotating into student housing.” said McGuinness.

However, he concedes that premier properties with the appropriate price tags are not easy to come by these days.  The investment community has put the days of reserved recession-era acquiring way in the past.

“It’s very competitive, however, we have a strategy that gives us a little bit of an edge,” he continued. In the hotel sector, for example, Inland American is avoiding hotspots like Manhattan, San Francisco and the like. “We’re going in markets that are number 6 to 20, such as Austin and Atlanta. They’re, still very strong markets, but not where pricing is really prohibitive for us. Still they have good demand drivers with good diverse economies but they’re not overpriced.”

“This is really a great time to be in this position because of our diverse portfolio. We have so many different opportunities and work every day to get optimum value to shareholders, ” McGuinness added.

McGuinness steps into the shoes of Brenda Gujral who, upon vacating the post to pursue her desire to focus on her new assignment as president of Inland Private Capital Corp., recommended McGuinness as the right person for the job.

“I am confident in the direction of the company and the ability of the current management team to execute the company’s strategy,” Gujral said in a prepared statement.