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Steve Purpura Leads 48-Person Team From Transwestern RBJ To CBRE New England

Steve Purpura.

An employee bloc is leaving en masse from one top Boston brokerage firm for another. 

CBRE announced Tuesday a 48-person Transwestern RBJ team, led by Steve Purpura, has left to join CBRE New England. The group includes partners John Lashar, Jon Varholak, John Barry, Ron Friedman, Eric Smith, John Wilson, Brian McKenzie, Chris McCauley, Chris Skeffington, Brian Cohen and Vicki Keenan. Bisnow first reported Wednesday a deal for talent was close to being announced.

“Our partnership with Transwestern was rewarding on many levels and we are pleased to be able to depart the firm on such good terms,” Purpura said in a prepared statement. “Our decision to join CBRE reflects the strong synergies we have with the firm, both locally and with their tremendous national and international platform, which bolsters our view of the increasing importance of labor-centric and data-driven real estate consulting services.” 

The former Transwestern team completed over 9.1M SF in Massachusetts leasing transactions in 2017, the third-largest CRE operation in the region. CBRE New England will continue to be led by co-managing partners Andy Hoar and Kevin Doyle.  

Purpura, Lashar, Varholak, Barry, McKenzie and Wilson were founding partners of Richards Barry Joyce & Partners, which Transwestern acquired in 2013 and rebranded as Transwestern RBJ. Their move to CBRE New England is the latest in a month of high-profile exits from Transwestern.

RBJ founding partner Bob Richards left in early February for an executive vice chairman role at Cushman & Wakefield. Michael Joyce, another founding partner, left for C&W in January for a vice chairman position. Transwestern RBJ partners Thomas Ashe and Robert Byrne left to join C&W as executive director and managing director, respectively, earlier this month. Another partner, Jamey Lipscomb, left the company for an executive vice president position at JLL.

Lipscomb indicated he began looking for his own next steps as a result of contracts relating to the Transwestern/RBJ acquisition expiring over the winter, enabling him to explore new opportunities.