Leases  ·  Industry

ESRT Promotes Christina Chiu to President and Stephen Horn to CFO

Chiu will take over the title of president from CEO Anthony Malkin

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Empire State Realty Trust is promoting two of its top execs, with Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer Christina Chiu rising to president, taking over the title from Anthony Malkin, Commercial Observer has learned.

Malkin will continue to serve as the chairman and chief executive officer of the real estate investment trust (REIT). Meanwhile, Chief Accounting Officer Stephen Horn will be elevated to replace Chiu as CFO while retaining his current title, according to ESRT. Both promotions are effective Tuesday.

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“Christina has been a CFO-plus since she was hired,” said Malkin. “This [new role] is a great reflection of reality. She comes from a background that really logically supports this transition and the fantastic partnership we’ve had together. She’s been part of why our balance sheet is so great, she’s been part of all the 1031s we’ve done.” 

Malkin added that the COO role would be “extinguished” for now. 

Chiu joined ESRT in April 2020 after 18 years at Morgan Stanley, where she served as managing director and chief operating officer of the Global Listed Real Estate Assets team. She joined the REIT as chief financial officer, and then Malkin gave her the additional title of chief operating officer last year. She has a bachelor’s in finance and accounting from New York University.

Over the last four years, Chiu has overseen capital markets, human resources, financial planning and reporting, investor relations and legal issues.

She explained that her new role as president doesn’t change her responsibilities much, but it does allow her to focus on other aspects of the REIT. 

“We view the business extremely holistically,” she said. “As mentioned, Tony and I have a wonderful partnership, focused on executing on behalf of our stakeholders as opposed to leaving responsibilities behind. It’s about how we continue our partnership to drive results.” 

Horn also landed at ESRT in 2020, starting at the REIT that December following an 11-year career as an auditor at Ernst & Young. He has a bachelor’s and master’s in accounting from Michigan State University

“The chief financial officer — you can only give the responsibility to someone who’s able to get it right,” said Malkin, who noted that the CFO signs off on all public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “Steve will be responsible for this work. As he expands in his role within our company, it gives Christina additional bandwidth to work on the success of ESRT.”

The ESRT promotions come amid a big shakeup of executive moves in the real estate industry, including the departure of Andrew Mathias from fellow REIT SL Green Realty in October.

Malkin emphasized that his executive team isn’t changing, and his longtime leasing and real estate chief Thomas Durels would keep overseeing the commercial side of the business. 

“We’re in the fight with a big platform to go forward,” he said. “It’s not just one person leading the show here, it’s a team.”

Rebecca Baird-Remba can be reached at rbairdremba@commercialobserver.com.