REBNY Nominates Douglas Durst as Next Chairman

The chairman of Manhattan real estate heavyweight The Durst Organization would succeed Bill Rubin in the trade association's top spot.
Douglas Durst, Chairman, The Durst Organization. Image courtesy of REBNY

The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) has nominated Douglas Durst, chairman of The Durst Organization, to lead the top trade association as the next chairman during a challenging time for the city’s property firms. Durst would succeed REBNY’s current chairman, Bill Rudin, who will stay in the position for the remainder of 2020.

REBNY’s board of governors is slated to vote on the chairmanship at its October meeting. Rudin, CEO & co-chairman of Rudin Management Co., took the reins at the start of 2018. Each chairman serves a 3-year term under the bylaws of the association, which represents a wide array of prominent industry players. James Whelan stepped in as President of the trade association in July 2019. 

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Durst, a 51-year member and currently a director of REBNY, serves on the association’s executive committee, board of governors and management division owner/labor coordinating committee. The executive is part of the third-generation leadership of The Durst Organization, a century-old Manhattan real estate heavyweight that owns, manages and operates 13 million square feet of office space and around 2,000 residential units.

The company  is best known for its landmark sustainable projects, such as One World Trade Center, the LEED Gold office tower that is the tallest building in the U.S. Other signature properties include One Bryant Park, the world’s first LEED Platinum skyscraper, and One Five One (151 W. 42nd St.), which the firm describes as the first green office tower.

An active tenure

Bill Rudin, Chairman, REBNY. Image courtesy of REBNY

Rudin has overseen a number of initiatives during his tenure at REBNY, with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion, such as the formation of a Diversity Committee in 2017 to build a new pipeline of talent for the industry. REBNY will also launch the Fellows Program this fall, a six-month leadership program aimed at mentoring and professional development for people from diverse backgrounds.

REBNY noted in a statement that Rubin drove record hiring and promotion of diverse team members, adding that 50 percent of the association’s senior leadership team self-identify as racially diverse and 40 percent are women, while 47 percent of REBNY’s staff are racially diverse and 70 percent are women.

Under Rubin’s leadership, REBNY took on other challenges including helping New York City and State officials respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by finding space for surge hospitals as well as hotels and housing for temporary medical personnel.

The association also introduced the state’s first eviction moratorium during the public health crisis, with REBNY members representing more than 155,000 rental apartments in New York City making a voluntary pledge to suspend evictions for a 90-day period on March 13.