Kimco CEO Retires; Replacement Picked

The owner-operator of the largest publicly traded portfolio of neighborhood and community shopping centers in North America is on the verge of experiencing a major change at the top.
David Henry

David Henry, Kimco

The owner-operator of the largest publicly traded portfolio of neighborhood and community shopping centers in North America is on the verge of experiencing a major change at the top. David Henry, CEO & chairman of the Board of Directors of Kimco Realty Corp., will retire from his leadership position effective Jan. 1, 2016. Henry will hand over the reins to Conor Flynn, current president & COO of the REIT.

Henry has been with Kimco since April 2001, when he came aboard as chief investment officer and, the following month, added the role of vice chairman of the Board to his duties. He was promoted to president in 2008 and in November 2009, he succeed co-founder Milton Cooper as CEO. Deftly steering Kimco through the recession, Henry refocused the REIT’s strategy and made such moves as withdrawing from its merchant-building and lending businesses. He will leave behind a thriving company. Strong fundamentals in the fourth quarter of 2014 included Kimco’s recording of its highest portfolio occupancy rate since the first quarter of 2008.

“Dave Henry’s done a fantastic job as CEO of Kimco,” Rich Moore, an analyst with investment banking firm RBC Capital, told Commercial Property Executive. “They’re doing very, very well. Their operations are outstanding, and their balance sheet is very good so their ability to acquire additional properties is excellent. They’ve got a few developments going and that’s kind of new for the shopping center area; there’s not a whole lot of development going on in shopping centers, but Kimco’s got a few going. So everything looks good at Kimco.”

Conor Flynn

Conor Flynn, Kimco

Flynn has certainly been playing a notable part in Kimco’s achievements as well. “The company’s current success can be credited to Henry and a lot of the other things that have been going on, like the development program, that’s something that Conor has been spearheading,” Moore said. “Kimco’s got a very good redevelopment pipeline–where you take assets you already own and improve on them–and that was all Conor’s doing. For the most part, he’s driving that.”

Flynn started out at Kimco in 2003 as an asset manager. He went on to hold various senior leadership positions before becoming COO in 2013 and adding the titles of CIO and president in 2014. Wearing his various hats, he is presently tasked with managing Kimco’s shopping-center business as well as directing new investment efforts.

“There’s obviously a generational difference between the two CEOs and even though Conor is young, he’s grown up in the business and most importantly, has a great deal of respect at the firm,” added Moore. “You can tell that the other executives and other people around him respect what he’s doing. So I think he’ll bring some new and fresh ideas, which is always good, but I think he’ll also continue the successful things that Dave Henry’s been doing.”

The responsibility: a REIT with a market capitalization exceeding $10 billion and total capitalization of $16 billion.

There’s plenty to be said for proper succession planning; there was no drama involved in the selection of Kimco’s next leader.

“There’s no big search going, there’s no uncertainly surrounding who the next CEO is going to be or when he’s going to take over or anything like that,” Moore concluded.  “So I think the organization–I guess you can hand it mostly to the Board–has done a great job of making sure that there’s a smooth transition to the CEO spot, and that’s a big plus.”