New Year Brings Leadership Changes to DC-Area CRE Firms


With 2021 set to see big changes in our country due to a new administration coming into the White House and a vaccine to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, many commercial real estate companies are starting the year with some changes of their own.

For instance, JBG SMITH made three new executive appointments to its senior leadership team effective Jan. 1. 

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Moina Banerjee is the new chief financial officer, George Xanders is the new chief investment officer, and Carey Goldberg is the company’s new chief human resources officer. 

Banerjee joined JBG SMITH in 2010, and was most recently executive vice president, head of capital markets. She succeeds Steve Theriot as CFO. The long-time executive has chosen to retire, though he will remain in an advisory role.

“Much of our focus in 2021 will be advancing our National Landing projects and building on our efforts to position the area as a thriving 18-hour neighborhood,” she told Commercial Observer. “We are making steady progress on the first phase of Amazon’s headquarters and have also secured the necessary approvals for our multifamily project at 1900 Crystal Drive, as well as the $1 billion Innovation Campus we are developing with Virginia Tech.” 

Xanders has been with the company for 13 years, most recently as executive vice president, co-head of acquisitions. During his career, he has spearheaded JBG SMITH’s capital recycling efforts, which resulted in the sale or recapitalization of $1.6 billion of primarily non-core office assets.

“We believe the D.C. metro region is entering a period of increasing demand for quality housing, and we are well-positioned to capitalize on these development opportunities as they arise, thanks to our strong liquidity position,” Xanders told CO. “Since the formation of JBG SMITH in 2017, we have made great strides in disposing of our non-core assets and recycling those funds in support of our continued growth. We recently identified another $1.5 billion in non-core assets and are determined to make even further progress on this front in 2021.”  

Goldberg joined JBG SMITH in 2018 as executive vice president, human resources and inclusion. Her leadership throughout the current pandemic was critical in supporting employees during challenging times, the company said.

Lee & Associates Maryland promoted Marley Welsh to vice president. She worked as a senior associate since 2013. In her new role, Welsh will focus primarily on flex/office and industrial properties throughout the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., metropolitan region.

“This promotion reflects the extremely high regard we have for Marley’s talents and contributions to our brokerage team over the past eight years,” Allan Riorda, Lee & Associates’ principal and president, said. “She is universally respected throughout the real estate industry and business community, and brings an impeccable work ethic and high integrity to every assignment. Most importantly, her knowledge of the commercial real estate environment and strong relationships enable her to consistently deliver quality solutions to her clients. Marley has a passion for success and we consider ourselves lucky to have her on our team.”

CBRE is also seeing changes to its team, promoting Robert Dean to executive vice president, based in the firm’s D.C. office. As part of the firm’s mid-Atlantic multifamily investment properties group, he has expanded CBRE’s platform throughout D.C., Northern Virginia, and suburban Maryland, completing transactions involving approximately 330 communities with an aggregate value exceeding $16.7 billion. 

Additionally, the firm promoted Charlie Carroccio to executive vice president in its Bethesda, Md.-based practice. Carroccio has helped conceive, structure, and negotiate more than 5 million square feet of transactions with an aggregate value of over $750 million, CBRE said.

Elsewhere around the region, Skanska has added Gary Orton as the company’s new vice president and account manager for its building operations in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., metro regions.

In this leadership role, Orton will spearhead the regional building operation’s strategic focus on the health care and life sciences sectors 

“I was drawn to this position because of the diversified work in health care, higher-ed, K-12 and commercial development,” Orton told CO. “One of the reasons I chose this position is to help grow Skanska’s market position by showcasing the technology offerings benefitting our employees, but perhaps, more importantly, our clients. One of the things I enjoy most about this industry is the diversity of people. I thrive on helping the next generation become leaders. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing a direct report become a peer.”

Orton comes to Skanska from Gilbane, where he was vice president, director of health care, and he has more than 30 years of experience in all phases of construction operations. Over his career, he has served as project engineer, project manager and project executive on numerous building projects totaling more than $1.5 billion.

While COVID-19 has changed the industry in regard to collaboration, team work and virtual communication, Orton believes many of these virtual learnings will be implemented into a post-COVID environment.  

“Skanska’s pre-construction services are phenomenal and I’m eager to share these offerings with our clients so they can see how a project will look — therefore, mitigating any surprises with design and price,” he said.