Edward Forst has been named president and CEO of Cushman & Wakefield, effective January 6, 2014, taking the place of interim CEO Carlo Barel di Sant’Albano.
Mr. Forst, 53, who spent most of his career at Goldman, Sachs & Co., where his tenure ended in 2011, most recently served as an advisor at private investment firm Fenway Partners.
“Cushman & Wakefield is a powerful and iconic brand with unparalleled capabilities in providing creative and innovative real estate services and solutions to a global client base,” Mr. Forst, who declined additional comment, said in a prepared statement. “I am honored to lead Cushman & Wakefield and am particularly excited to work with this world-class team of professionals to build on the company’s strengths and capitalize on the many opportunities ahead.”
Mr. Forst joined Goldman in 1994 and was named partner by 1998, acting as Global Co-Head of the Investment Management Division, as a member of its management committee and previously as the firm’s Chief Administrative Officer. He also served in leadership roles at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and was elected as its first Co-Chairman and later as Chairman.
In 2008 he left the Goldman, in a move that would be temporary, to take a senior post at Harvard University, where during the financial crisis of 2008-2009 he led the Ivy Leaguer’s non-academic affairs, serving as first Executive Vice President and Principal Operating Officer.
In a surprise twist, Goldman rehired Mr. Forst in 2009, but he left again in 2011 in what the firm dubbed a retirement, though a report in the Times’ DealBook at the time buzzed with questions regarding Mr. Forst’s leadership style following a no-show at an important client meeting.
Mr. di Sant’Albano told The Commercial Observer that both internal and external candidates were considered for the job, but that the firm’s board and search committee, of which he was a member, as well as the firm’s shareholder groups, felt a “click” when meeting with Mr. Forst.
“After meeting with Ed and spending time with him it was absolutely clear that he had all the things we felt were critical for Cushman & Wakefield to take on the significant ambitions that we have,” he said, noting that Mr. Forst’s success at Goldman is a testament to his “global understanding,” and that it was critical to the decision.
“I made it very clear from the start that I was going to be intermediate,” he added, regarding his own stint as CEO.
Mr. Forst is a graduate of Harvard University and holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.