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CBRE Announces Newly Created Chief Diversity Officer Role

Tim Dismond

The biggest commercial real estate brokerage in the world has announced it will promote a division president to its executive committee to help push the company’s level of diversity and inclusion.

Tim Dismond has been appointed chief diversity officer at CBRE, the company said in a release Wednesday. The new role will see Dismond joining the committee of 12 global executives, which now has two people of color, according to the website. He will be reporting to CBRE CEO Bob Sulentic.

“While we have made notable gains in boosting diversity in our company, we know there is more that we must do, particularly with regard to African Americans and other ethnically diverse leaders,” Sulentic said in a statement. “The creation of the Chief Diversity Officer role is a major step in accelerating our progress, particularly in senior leadership and brokerage positions.”

He described Dismond as an “impactful operating executive” who will add “energy, focus and sharp thinking to our diversity and inclusion effort.”

Dismond has been with the brokerage since 2008, according to LinkedIn, and has been in commercial real estate for 25 years. He oversaw 5,000 people in his role as a division president in the company’s Global Workplace Solutions Enterprise business.

Businesses have been forced to reckon with their diversity — or lack thereof — in the wake of widespread demonstrations against police brutality and racial injustice. In commercial real estate, white men have long held the most coveted positions of power. In recent weeks, many leaders of the industry have said they are aiming to increase diversity through new approaches to hiring and other methods.

Earlier this month, Related CEO Jeff Blau said he and others need to work “with our industry and schools to make real estate an attractive and a welcoming place for everybody … That's a generational change.”

Willy Walker — who runs Walker & Dunlop, one of the largest multifamily finance firms in the country — has set a goal to increase the percentage of women in its top 20% earning bracket from 7% to 15% by 2025. He wants the percentage of minorities in its top earners to go from 4% to 15% within the next five years.

Investment firm Blackstone has said it will double down on hiring directly from universities as opposed to leaning on investment banks as a way to diversify its ranks.  

CBRE also pointed to partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the Real Estate Associate Program and the National Black MBA Association.

The company has a policy that a visibly diverse candidate must be included at the in-person interview stage for all positions for director and above. The panels interviewing for those positions must have at least one visibly diverse interviewer and “a diversity and inclusion-focused objective” must be included in all performance appraisals for people employed at director and above, according to the release.