Contact Us

10 of the Biggest Brokers to Switch Firms Amid Industry Consolidation


In Part 2 of Bisnow's look at the wave of consolidation in the commercial real estate industry, we take a look at the suits. With all the M&A action in the industry, some of the country's top power brokers have changed hats. Here are some of the biggest moves prompted by the biggest buys. Check out Part 1 to read about the corporate M&A flurry.

1. Dan Harvey


In an explosive shakeup on the West Coast, Dan Harvey left his spot as vice chairman for Cushman & Wakefield in San Francisco this month to join CBRE. And if the move itself wasn't enough, Dan took his golden Salesforce account and team with him. The jump came just a few weeks after DTZ announced its $2B Cushman buy. His title at CB also is vice chairman.

2. Jonathan Larsen


Also on the West Coast, industry vet Jonathan Larsen left DTZ in February to run the West LA office of Avison Young, overseeing day-to-day operations as managing director. Jonathan has had quite the career, most recently launching Cassidy Turley's LA office (prior to the firm becoming DTZ), where he grew it from a small post into a 35-employee operation.

3. Jim Underhill


In DC, former Cushman & Wakefield CEO of the Americas Jim Underhill (here with Danielle Keute and Brian Dawson last fall) accepted a position in March as chairman of the board of Create, a DC-based tech startup that plans to change how people research commercial real estate. Jim's new role will be to focus on areas like strategy, product development and financing. Right now, Create only handles DC properties, but it will include properties across the nation over the next two years. There's been some scandal in DC as well, with hubbub arising last month when BCG sued Avison Young for allegedly poaching employees along with business and client info.

4. Jennifer Pierson


When CBRE absorbed Dallas-based retail giant UCR, some 100 pros came along with it. But not long after that, Jennifer Pierson (formerly CBRE private capital managing director) left the firm to start her own company, Pierson Retail Advisors. She took her longtime partner and sister-in-law, Beth Pierson, client services specialist, and Debora Haught, a financial analyst and graphic designer.

5-7. Holly Minter, David Schwarz and Tip Strickland


NGKF’s acquisition of Apartment Realty Advisors caught the eye of three financing heavyweights in Houston—Holly Minter, David Schwarz and Tip Strickland, who left positions with JLL and Grandbridge to grow a debt and equity practice in the new ARA Newmark office at the end of Q1. The new venture has started swimmingly, and the group tells us they've closed $145M (nearly 2,000 units) in their first 90 days, and have $335M (over 3,000 units) in closing right now. (That's on the debt and equity side combined.) Newmark has been on its own acquisition spree for the better part of a year, including picking up Cornish & Carey last year, in addition to announcing two buys in May: Excess Space Retail Services and Computerized Facility Integration. The ARA buy was huge for NGKF, as the brokerage recorded more than $3.3B in multifamily sales in the first six months of last year.

8. Kevin McLennan


Also in the Midwest, Kevin McLennan left his post this month at the Chicago office of Savills Studley to join CBRE as an SVP. Kevin has completed transactions that total more than 6M SF and have a market value north of $2B. NYC-based tenant rep firm Studley was bought by London's Savills last summer for $260M in cash.

9. Chris White


In Atlanta, the DTZ purchase of Cassidy Turley created an abundance of top-level leadership, so Chris White—who was heading DTZ in Atlanta—resigned. But after a four-month hiatus, Chris—who is one of metro Atlanta's top tenant rep brokers—returned to the business, to head up Savills Studley's Atlanta office. Here's Chris with Savills Studley's Michael Colacino and Jeremy Helsby.

10. Bob Knakal


But it's not all blue suits turning red. In NYC, Bob Knakal of Massey Knakal now has the shiny title of chair of New York investment sales for Cushman, after the firm bought out Massey for $100M early this year. Bob's already got quite the collection of listings for Cushman, including the 1.5M SF Citicorp Building in Queens. The 50-story tower, the tallest building in Queens, last traded for $500M in 2011 and is expected to fetch a record amount.