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Howard Hughes CEO Paul Layne Steps Down, David O’Reilly Named Interim CEO

Howard Hughes' Paul Layne (left) at Bisnow's State of the Market conference in 2016.

The Howard Hughes Corp. has had a sudden transition at its highest levels.

The master-planned community and mixed-use developer has named David O’Reilly as interim CEO, following Paul Layne’s retirement from the role effective Sept. 17. Layne has also stepped down from the board of directors.

Layne was named CEO in October and oversaw the execution of Howard Hughes Corp.’s transformation plan, which involved shifting focus to its core master-planned communities, selling non-core assets, and moving its headquarters from Dallas to Houston.

He also oversaw the strategic acquisition of 1.4M SF of office space from Occidental Petroleum in The Woodlands, Texas, and spearheaded the development of 110 North Wacker, a Class-A tower in Chicago set to open next month.

Layne joined The Howard Hughes Corp. in 2012 as executive vice president, Master Planned Communities, and became president of the Central Region in 2017.

"It has been an exceptionally fulfilling privilege to lead The Howard Hughes Corporation through such a critical period in the company's history," Layne said in a statement.

"Together, we have come through stronger than ever, and I am incredibly proud of all we have achieved. I wish David and the Board continued success as Howard Hughes embarks on this next chapter of its transformation."

O’Reilly will take on the role of interim CEO in addition to his existing duties as president and chief financial officer. He has served as CFO since 2016 and was appointed president in June. The board of directors will conduct a search for a permanent CEO and will consider both internal and external candidates, the company said.