The Retailer-In-Chief: Cushman & Wakefield Chief Executive Glenn Rufrano


During the International Council of Shopping Centers’ RECon in Las Vegas last week, Glenn Rufrano, Cushman & Wakefield (CWK)’s chief executive, was a consistent and notable presence inside his company’s busy booth on the convention floor. The Commercial Observer spotted him several times in the middle of a constant pack of brokers and retail professionals congregating at the firm’s booth, in the midst of meetings and socializing. Although top-tier executives abound at ICSC, Mr. Rufrano was perhaps the highest-profile leader from a major real estate services firm to attend the conference and participate in such a hands-on manner. The Commercial Observer spoke with Mr. Rufrano last Tuesday, the last full day of the conference, in a private meeting room in C&W’s booth to get his take on the show and his plans for the future.

glenn rufrano high resolution The Retailer In Chief: Cushman & Wakefield Chief Executive Glenn Rufrano
Glenn Rufrano.

It seems like the conference is beginning to thin out, but you’re still here working away.
I leave here and head out to Houston tomorrow. It’s actually to meet with the staff. I meet with the leaders. Houston is a very productive market for us. The company’s second-highest producer last year Tim Relyea works out of Houston. He was second to John Cefaly from our New York office. John’s hard to beat. But Tim, I think in 2010, was number one, and it’s very hard, by the way, to be in that ranking from Houston because the fees and rents are not as high as New York. He did the largest deal in the U.S. that year, for Shell Oil, about 1.2 million square feet. So I am going to go down and Tim and I will have breakfast, we’ll talk about how things are going. I’ll speak to the whole office and give our expectations for 2012, review the strategy, talk about where we are and where we’re going, the brand and the value of it, and the great clients and culture of the firm and how we’re moving toward achieving our goals. We’ll do a Q&A—the best thing about brokers is they’re opinionated, which is great, because we’ll spend a half hour and hear from the seniors in the office. Then I fly back to New York on Thursday.

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This is random, but we hear you don’t eat lunch, which must be convenient at ICSC because the food is bad.

You know some people like food, they enjoy it. I’m not a food person. If someone could give me a pill and make it simple, I would take it. I don’t care about food. I do eat lunch with clients, but, if I don’t have a business lunch, I usually don’t even think about it. I’ll be busy working and then suddenly it’s time for dinner. Maybe I’ll snack on a protein bar.

So that’s how you maintain your trim figure?
I run a bunch, very slowly, of course. I love jogging. This morning I was out, going up and down the strip at 6:15, and I saw [C&W retail broker] Matt Win running, and some of the folks from my old firm Centro.

You run up and down the strip?
For years I’ve done it. Wherever I go, I always bring my running stuff. I like running up and down the strip at 6 in the morning and looking at the real estate.