John Kessler Appointed CEO of Mitsui Fudosan America as John Westerfield Retires


Mitsui Fudosan America CEO John Westerfield will retire and be replaced by John Kessler, the company announced Thursday.

Kessler, who currently serves as chief operating officer, will take over at the helm starting Oct. 1, with Westerfield remaining a senior adviser until the end of the year, according to Mitsui Fudosan.

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“I have known John for over 30 years and have the utmost confidence in his leadership ability and investment skills,” Westerfield, who has been chief executive since 2015, said in a statement. “John is the right person to continue to grow MFA’s business, especially in these challenging times.”

It hasn’t been a long stint at Mitsui Fudosan for Kessler. He joined the American branch of the Japanese firm in April from Empire State Realty Trust, where he was chief operating officer, and was brought on board with the ultimate goal of him eventually being named CEO as part of Mitsui Fudosan America’s succession plan.

Prior to that, Kessler served as a managing director at Fortress Investment Group and Morgan Stanley Real Estate.

Under Westerfield’s leadership, Mitsui Fudosan America has taken a more prominent role in the Japanese development company; and generated about 20 percent of its worldwide operating income in 2022, according to Mitsui Fudosan. Its American holdings in New York include 1251 Avenue of the Americas and a stake of 55 Hudson Yards, and it’s in the process of building a 50-story apartment tower in Downtown Los Angeles.

Westerfield, who previously worked at Morgan Stanley, started with Mitsui Fudosan as a senior adviser to the board of directors in 2011 and succeeded Yukio Yoshida as CEO in 2015.

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