The Long View

20090521 NYO portrait edit 46131 300x200 The Long View

The Commercial Observer: So, are you about to have more time on your hands?

Mr. Mosler: I certainly will have more time to devote to business development, which is what this was all about. At the end of the day, this was a move to get me to client interface; to develop, for lack of a better way to articulate it, a key client care program so that I can help mature some of the large institutional relationships and cross-sell them into other services; and, most importantly for me, to make a difference right here in the Northeast region and particularly in New York in securing large-end portfolio types of businesses.


In a way, you’re going back to your roots, aren’t you?

It’s certainly getting back to my passion and my beginnings in the sense that, as any former broker, I built my reputation on how we service the client and the ability to proactively secure business. There’s certainly an element of that.


Do you expect to have any extra personal time?

I don’t think I’ll be looking at a lot of free time, because I think the business opportunity is enormous in this environment. This is an environment where clients really need to look for advice, and for someone who has seen the cycles, there’s a distinct competitive advantage for anyone who can put this climate in perspective. But I don’t expect to have a bunch of free time. I also expect to be able to help and support our new CEO if and when he chooses.


Do you and Glenn share a history?

We actually don’t share a history, but Glenn shares a history with the firm and therefore, by osmosis, with me as the former CEO. But we have mutual friends who we both know. But in my time in which I’ve spent with Glenn, I think he’s going to be spectacular in his role and bring a different perspective to Cushman & Wakefield than we’ve had before, as a business that’s been led by former brokers or former counsels. I think this is a fresh perspective in what he has as background.


Anything you regret or are particularly proud of during your tenure as president?

It’s hard to talk about yourself in terms of your accomplishments because I don’t really look at it that way. I think that when I took over for Arthur Mirante, the business was about 80 percent domestic and 20 percent international in terms of revenue breakdown. But he had already put the seeds in place to see growth in international revenue, and so I tried to support that business strategy, and then I amended it as I went along in terms of where I saw the opportunities emerging. But one of the objectives I had was to diversify revenue. And when you look at the acquisitions we made in Canada and in Russia and in other places in the emerging markets, where now our revenue is 50-50, that’s an objective that’s been helpful to the firm.


What are you going to miss at the day-to-day level?

When you’ve had the privilege-and it’s an enormous privilege to lead a business with global reach-I will miss visiting people and immediately being drawn into the opportunity of the day. Just from my perspective, I always enjoyed delivering the message as to where the firm was going and the vision, and I enjoyed the interaction with the people. So I’ll miss some of the folks I know and consider great friends today. On the flip side, I’m sure I’m going to have the chance to facilitate and help in other capacities, which will be nice as well. I’ll also enjoy spending a little more time concentrating my business efforts rather than spreading them over the broad swath.


What clients are you going to be working with right off the bat?

One that we recently announced is to help reposition Charles Cohen’s portfolio-four buildings. We’ve been hired to advise and to be the exclusive leasing agent for 805 Third Avenue, 622 Third Avenue, 3 East 54th Street and 3 Park Avenue. At the end of the day, I’m pursuing other new business that I can’t disclose at this point because we haven’t secured it, but we’re working on a lot of interesting opportunities.


Are you going to be rusty? Are you training for the big change?

I didn’t cross over to management until I was in my 40s, so at the end of the day, that meant I spent 20 years sort of building my business as a professional broker, although I always had some role in management-even in my own company when I founded it. As business got more complex, you realized you couldn’t be all things to all people. But I’ve represented clients even in my capacity as CEO. I expect it will be like putting on a nice old glove, or a pair of shoes that you’re ready to get back into.


You moved to 1290 Avenue of the Americas in November from longtime office space one block north. How has the transition been, and why did you decide to do it now?

One of the reasons we moved to this office was to make it more attractive to future generations of Cushman & Wakefield people. And how do you get them to a place where they can collaborate? You can ask anybody in this industry, because our peers know it: We have been very open in sharing with anyone who wants to see this space. I think this space has broken new ground in how a real estate services firm can be structured to be more collaborative and more interactive. So for those who were pooh-poohing this decision, today we are regarded as being on the forefront. Ask anybody, and they will tell you that where we are today is a very exciting place.


Besides the economic challenges that everyone is facing, are competitors like the newly formed Colliers International a worry for either you or Glenn?

While I think it’s unwise to not spend some time of your day being concerned about what the competition is doing, it’s equally unwise to be overly concerned about what the competition does. There are several great brands in the industry, and Cushman & Wakefield is probably considered one of the great brands in this industry. So I’m not concerned about Cushman & Wakefield’s brand or image or our continuing to be at the forefront of bringing the business to new heights. As to those that wish to break into our considerable position, I think there will always be folks that want to raise the bar and get to the next level-and I wish them well. At the end of the day, I have one worry in my life when I wake up in the morning as a major shareholder of Cushman & Wakefield: How is Cushman & Wakefield doing?

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