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Douglas Durst To Become Next REBNY Chairman

Durst Organization Chairman Douglas Durst

Douglas Durst, the leader of one of New York City's most prominent real estate families, will assume the top role at the industry's most prominent trade group.

Durst will become chairman of the Real Estate Board of New York after he was nominated by current Chairman Bill Rudin to take up the role when Rudin’s term ends at the beginning of 2021, REBNY announced Thursday.

“It is an honor to be … entrusted with the stewardship of our industry’s efforts for an economic recovery that is equitable for all New Yorkers,” Durst said in a statement.

Durst, who has been a REBNY member for 51 years and serves on its board of directors, is the third generation of his family to lead The Durst Organization, which developed and owns several of New York City’s most famous skyscrapers, including One World Trade Center.

“I welcome the opportunity to work with Douglas as our next chairman and look forward to leveraging his experience and perspective on smart and sustainable economic recovery,” REBNY President Jim Whelan said in a statement. “I am grateful for Bill’s leadership over the past three years and thank him for his tireless service to our City and our industry.” 

Rudin, the CEO of Rudin Management Co., took over from Tishman Speyer CEO Rob Speyer as REBNY chairman in 2017. Rudin led the organization through the pandemic this year and established a diversity committee when he first started, propelling hiring of women and people of color at different ranks within the organization. 

Today, 70% of REBNY’s leadership team is either a woman or person of color, 47% of employees throughout the entire organization are people of color and 70% of employees are women, according to REBNY. 

“Douglas Durst and The Durst Organization have an unparalleled dedication to New York City, and Douglas has an unshakable and immutable faith in this City and its people,” Rudin said in the release. “It is hard to imagine a more appropriate leader to navigate our industry through these extraordinarily challenging times.” 

The Durst Organization was started by Douglas' grandfather, Joseph Durst, in 1915 and has been active in New York through many of its most troubled times, Durst said. 

“We survived the influenza pandemic of 1918,” Durst said. “That history and experience leave me uniquely prepared for the opportunity to bring a long-term perspective and optimism to REBNY because even when New York seems down, it always comes back.”