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C&W Tasks Former Goldman Sachs Exec To Grow Firm on a Global Scale

Incoming CEO Edward Forst's Experience Leading Global Investment Banking Firm Was Key Factor
December 18, 2013
NEW YEAR NEW CEO: Former Goldman Sachs senior executive Edward C. Forst will take over as Cushman & Wakefield's new president and CEO effective Jan. 6.
NEW YEAR NEW CEO: Former Goldman Sachs senior executive Edward C. Forst will take over as Cushman & Wakefield's new president and CEO effective Jan. 6.
Former Goldman Sachs Group senior executive Edward C. Forst, 53, takes over as president and chief executive of Cushman & Wakefield at a time of improving prospects for the New York City based global commercial real estate services provider.

Cushman’s parent company, Exor SpA, reported solid financial results last month, including a 20% increase in revenue to $1.66 billion for its C&W Group unit in the first nine months of 2013 compared to the previous year.

The results included double-digit increases in capital markets, valuation/advisory and corporate occupier and investor services net revenues. Capital markets and corporate occupier revenue rose by double digits in all global regions, including the Americas, Europe/Mideast/Africa and Asia Pacific.

Reportedly, Cushman's results spurred a lobbying effort by top producers at the firm for acting CEO Carlo Barel di Sant'Albano to take the job permanently after he agreed to serve in the position on an interim basis when Glenn Rufrano stepped down in June. However, Sant’Albano, who will continue as Cushman & Wakefield's executive chairman, tells CoStar News that having separate chairman and CEO positions will be "a tremendous combination" when Forst takes over in Cushman’s New York City headquarters on Jan. 6, 2014.

Before leaving Goldman Sachs in 2011, Forst served as global co-head of the investment management division and as a member of Goldman’s influential management committee, and previously as its chief administrative officer. Most recently, he served as an advisor to privately held investment firm Fenway Partners.

Sant’Albano, who also has an investment banking background, said he has developed a rapport with Forst over numerous meetings during the last several weeks. He also reiterated Exor’s commitment to Cushman & Wakefield.

"We have very high ambitions for the firm," Sant’Albano said. "During our discussions with Ed, it was absolutely clear that he understood the phenomenal strength of our platform and the iconic brand that is Cushman & Wakefield."

Exor launched an intensive five-month search when Rufrano stepped down as chief executive in June. After interviewing candidates both inside and outside the firm, the company opted for a strong leader with experience running multiple business lines and operations within a global company - and believes it found such a leader in Forst.

"Ed has an outstanding résumé and is an extraordinarily accomplished professional who had the opportunity to run a variety of different operations within Goldman Sachs, one of the world’s most well-respected businesses. He has held leadership roles wherever he has been," Sant’Albano tells CoStar. He added that Cushman’s global platform makes it critical that a CEO "maintain a focus on the whole world."

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