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Ric Clark Is Stepping Back At Brookfield, Will Continue To Serve As Adviser

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Brookfield Property Partners Chairman Ric Clark

Brookfield Property Chairman Ric Clark is reportedly stepping back from daily duties at the company he helped build into New York City’s biggest office landlord.

Ben Brown, who has been leading Brookfield's operations in New York and Boston since 2018, is moving into Clark’s role, Commercial Observer reports.

Though Clark is pulling back from his current responsibilities, he will continue as chairman of Brookfield Property Group, Brookfield Property Partners and Brookfield Property REIT. He will continue as a senior adviser for the company.

“Although this decision has been in the works a long time, and I am very excited for what lies ahead, it is with some emotion that I pull back from the company where I have spent nearly my entire career,” Clark said in a company memo sent Thursday which CO obtained. “When I joined Brookfield, the real estate group was largely comprised of a small, North American office portfolio and a few dozen people. Today, we are not just one of the world’s largest and widest-reaching real estate companies, we are the industry standard.”

Clark has been with the company since the early 1980s, when it was called Olympia & York. 

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Brookfield executive Ben Brown

After buying Forest City Ratner in 2018, the Canadian equity giant became the biggest office landlord in New York City. Brookfield said in late 2018 that it owns 25 office properties comprising 26M SF in the city. Other major deals under Clark’s reign include taking over mall owner GGP in a $15B acquisition in 2018, and paying Kushner Cos. $1.3B in cash for a 99-year ground lease at 666 Fifth Ave.

Brookfield CEO of Real Estate Brian Kingston said in the company memo that Brown’s “close partnership” with Clark on the firm’s “most high-profile projects, including Manhattan West, will ensure a smooth transition.”

Clark has been a mentor to Brown, who has been with the company for a decade.

“This isn't like GE, where you're in this role for X amount of years, and then this role,” Brown told Bisnow in an interview last year. “I think it's an organization where you're flexible, and senior management puts you where you will be successful and where they need your focus.”

Brown joined Brookfield’s U.S. investments team in 2010. He later worked in London for three years, helping build up the investment business in Europe.

“The one thing you can rely on at Brookfield is, you won't know what is next,” he said. “The business is just so large and it's so fluid.”