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Time's On His Side

New York
Time's On His Side
Cushman & Wakefield CEO Glenn Rufrano
If there's anything that new Cushman & Wakefield CEO Glenn Rufrano has learned, it's that timing is everything. And it seems that time was often on his side throughout his career, which he discussed with a packed crowd at YM/WREA's monthly luncheon yesterday. Glenn began in the ‘80s, when he was with The O'Connor Group. During the S&L crisis, banks had no idea what they had, so the firm began buying at a 20% return and bringing assets to the market, he says. But times and risk began to change in the ‘90s, and he decided that opportunity funds were the wrong business after witnessing Equity Office make a 10% dividend on Class A office. He then joined New Plan Excel in 2000, where you'd just “throw a dart” and make money.
Vornado's Glen Weiss, Cushman & Wakefield's Glenn Rufrano, and Newmark Knight Frank's Robin Fisher
But in '06, New Plan's stock fell, so it would have to go up the risk curve or sell, he said. Centro swooped in and purchased the company—poor timing on Centro's part—leading to stopped dividends and closed open-ended funds. But the next timing helped, Glenn notes. Even though '08 was the worst year he's lived through, the Lehman collapse bode well for Centro, which said to the banks, “Do you really want our assets now?” In '09, he had to make the decision to go with $500M capital or C&W. The decision seemed easy for him, as you don't want to be on the buy side over the next 36 months, he says—though he doesn't mind being in the middle. Above, Glenn with YM/WREA chair Glen Weiss of Vornado and vice-chair Robin Fisher of Newmark Knight Frank.