USAA Real Estate Co. announced that Len O’Donnell will succeed Pat Duncan as CEO of the $12 billion institutional investment firm. O’Donnell has served as president and chief operating officer for the past two years, overseeing the firm's acquisitions, investing, capital markets and portfolio management. He also oversees the management of USAA's co-investment value-added funds including the Admiral Fund and Crimson Real Estate Fund.
In other personnel news, USAA Real Estate added Bahram Motamedian as managing director of portfolio management. Motamedian joined the firm after 17 years with Hines Interests of Houston, including 10 years in London as managing director for Hines Europe. At USAA, Motamedian will join the USAA Eagle Real Estate Fund team, a diversified open end fund investing in major property types throughout the U.S. He will also direct separately managed accounts and work to advance the company's international investment strategy.
Duncan, who has served as CEO since 2005, will retire from day-to-day activities on May 1, 2013, but plans to remain active in the company and will continue to serve as executive vice chairman of USAA Real Estate's board and on the boards of various subsidiaries and affiliates.
He joined USAA Real Estate in 1986 as a senior financial officer, working under the firm's longtime CEO, Ed Kelley. In 1992, Duncan was promoted to lead the company's operations, and was named CEO following Kelley's retirement.
Duncan's track record is notable for his success in guiding the firm through the recent recession, astutely selling a large number of holdings before values crashed and buying properties on the cheap afterwards. In a 2008 interview, Duncan recalled those days: "In 2006-2007 we probably sold $2 billion to $3 billion in assets. It was hot - too hot. (Prices were) just too good to be true. When things get that hot you just sell a lot."
Later, at the 2009 BOMA International Conference in Philadelphia, Duncan was a member of a panel of top commercial real estate
executives selected to share strategies for successful real estate investment in the volatile economy. During the discussion, other panelists would humorously defer questions from the audience, saying, "Ask Pat, he has all the money."
"Pat’s record, especially successfully leading the company during the recent economic downturn, is outstanding," said Joe Robles, USAA president and CEO. "Thanks to Pat’s leadership, USAA Real Estate Company has grown to be a major industrial developer that is highly respected, and Len has proven himself well-qualified to build on that tradition."