CBRE Group, Inc. today announced that Charles (“Chuck”) Leitner will join the company as global CEO of CBRE Global Investors, CBRE’s real assets investment management business. Leitner will succeed Ritson Ferguson, who had informed the company of his intention to step down from that role. (Ferguson will continue with CBRE Global Investors as CEO of CBRE Clarion Securities, the real assets securities business he co-founded in 1991, and will continue to serve on the board of directors of CBRE Caledon, the private infrastructure investment arm of CBRE.)
Leitner is joining CBRE Global Investors from Berkshire Group, where he has served as president & CEO since 2013. Berkshire is an investment management and operating company specializing in U.S. residential property. Prior to Berkshire, he served as Global CEO of RREEF/Deutsche Asset Management (now DWS), a global alternative asset management enterprise with $80 billion of assets under management.
“Chuck has all the qualities we are looking for in the leader of our investment management business. He is an accomplished investor and operator and a strategic thinker with wide-ranging experience,” said Daniel Queenan, Global CEO of CBRE’s Real Estate Investments business segment, which consists of investment management (CBRE Global Investors), development services (Trammell Crow Company) and flexible-space solutions (Hana). Leitner will report to Queenan.
Queenan noted that Leitner previously led a global real assets–focused diversified investment management platform, brings strong operational experience and also has a passion for ESG-related initiatives, which continue to be a high priority for CBRE Global Investors.
“I am confident that our people and our business will flourish under his strong leadership,” added Queenan.
Queenan also said that the decision to bring in Leitner was the outcome of a well-thought out succession plan and that it is similar to the move they made when they brought on Bernie McNamara last year to succeed Mike McMenomy as global head of investor services and solutions.
“Both Ritson and Mike will remain members of our senior leadership team and will continue to make significant contributions to our client solutions platform moving forward. We are obsessed with bringing on top talent and thoughtful succession planning, which provides the kind of continuity investors have come to know and expect from us,” he said. “I am thrilled to join CBRE Global Investors,” Leitner said. “CBRE has a client-focused fiduciary culture, a great team, a highly regarded brand, a global footprint and diversified product offerings — the perfect combination to deliver solutions to and produce outstanding returns for investors in today’s global real assets marketplace.”
“With Chuck we are bringing on someone who understands a global platform, and I look forward to helping him make a seamless transition, particularly building on our firm’s focus on strong investment performance and global real assets solutions for our clients,” said Ferguson. “At the same time, I am excited to be devoting more of my attention to the CBRE Clarion Securities business.”
Leitner is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he currently serves as a trustee and member of the board and executive committee of Penn Medicine. He is a trustee of the Urban Land Institute, where he formerly served as chairman of ULI’s Greenprint Center for Building Performance. (Leitner was a co-founder of the Greenprint Foundation, which subsequently was acquired by the Urban Land Institute.)