Rob Speyer Named Next REBNY Chairman
Daniel Geiger July 17, 2012, 4:11 p.m.
Rob Speyer will be the Real Estate Board of New York’s next chairman, the powerful professional association and lobbying group announced this afternoon.
Mr. Speyer, the president and co-CEO of the real estate investment firm Tishman Speyer, will take the position in January when the current chairwoman, Mary Ann Tighe, steps down.
Though the role is often viewed as a ceremonial position that offers its holder the kind of public platform coveted in a Manhattan real estate industry known for its egos and competitiveness, it is not without influence. Mr. Speyer will have input in determining what issues REBNY focuses on during his three-year tenure.
Ms. Tighe, who was REBNY’s first female chair and whose leadership of the organization was widely praised, said Mr. Speyer would have to confront aggressive landmarking in the city and a rising tax burden on the real estate industry while also helping the industry voice its input in the city’s sweeping plan to permit larger buildings on and around Park Avenue.
“The opportunity for us to name a chairman who is the next generation was very compelling,” Ms. Tighe told The Commercial Observer. “The goal is to keep this organization vibrant.”
Mr. Speyer is 43 and will be the 117-year old organization’s youngest ever chairman. Both Mr. Speyer’s father, Jerry Speyer, who is a co-CEO of Tishman Speyer with him, and Robert Tishman, Mr. Speyer’s grandfather, were past past chairmen of REBNY. Jerry Speyer served from 1986 to 1988 and the late Robert Tishman served from 1972 to 1975. His appointment is the first three generation dynastic succession in the organization’s history.
“He has the perfect training,” Ms. Tighe said. “Both his grandfather Robert Tishman and father were chairmen so when you have that background he knows what’s entailed and no one can say he’s not fully prepared.”
Ms. Tighe and other past chairs of REBNY, including Larry Silverstein, Steve Ross, Burt Resnick and John Zucotti–among the most successful real estate owners of their generation–selected Mr. Speyer from a pool of candidates within the organization, she said.
One of Mr. Speyer’s most attractive credentials, Ms. Tighe explained, is the global success of his real estate firm, which has large scale development projects in emerging economies such as India and Asia.
“We respected his global perspective, a great focus for REBNY is keeping New York City competitive in a global marketplace,” Ms. Tighe said.
Mr. Speyer, in fact, was away on business in China on Tuesday and was unavailable for comment.