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Exclusive: Phillips Edison CIO Hal Scudder Joins Pine Tree

National Retail
Pine Tree Chief Investment Officer Hal Scudder

Pine Tree, a Chicago-based retail real estate firm with a $1.4B shopping center portfolio, strengthened its acquisition platform by hiring Hal Scudder as chief investment officer.

A 30-year industry veteran, Scudder joined Pine Tree from Phillips Edison, where he also served as chief investment officer. He transformed Phillips Edison into one of the largest retail firms in the industry through the acquisition and disposition of 300 shopping centers over an 11-year period, totaling $5B in transaction value.

Scudder stepped down from Phillips Edison last December and took some time for himself, he told Bisnow. It did not last long before he was contacted by Pine Tree CEO and co-founder Peter Borzak, whom he knew from attending industry conferences. Scudder said he and Borzak discussed shared synergies while working together on a few deals and figuring out what role would best fit Scudder. 

"We determined that CIO would be the best fit," Scudder said.

The move to Pine Tree brings Scudder back full circle. He grew up in retail holding a range of roles with The Taubman Co., and has experience in leasing, asset management, finance and development, in addition to acquisitions and dispositions.

The biggest appeal of Pine Tree, Scudder said, was that it allows him to be part of a smaller firm while contributing throughout the organization. 

"At Pine Tree, I can focus more on the assets throughout the ownership process. I really want to be involved with adding value to our properties throughout the hold period," Scudder said.

"Hal's experience running an acquisition platform was crucial in to why the fit was good. His experience with the nuances of different markets, and regional and national retailers, are a perfect fit for our current program and our desire to increase scale," Borzak said.

Scudder said Pine Tree will not veer from its strategy of seeking shopping centers in dominant locations in dynamic markets. Scudder recognizes anchor tenants at shopping centers are embracing omnichannel options for their customers and said he is looking forward to learning more about it at Pine Tree, an industry leader in omnichannel marketing

"Pine Tree's efforts are more targeted and can be effective at the asset level because they are larger, with more anchor tenants to participate," Scudder said.