Board of Directors
Mr. Stein, age 64, has been our Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer since 1998. He has served on our Board since 1993. From our initial public offering in 1993 until 1998, he served as our Chief Executive Officer and President. Mr. Stein also served as President of our predecessor real estate division beginning in 1981, and Vice President from 1976 to 1981. He is a director, member of the compensation committee and chairman of the corporate governance committee of FRP Holdings, Inc., a publicly held real estate company, and has not held any other public company directorships during the past five years other than with Stein Mart, Inc. Mr. Stein is a graduate of Washington and Lee University and has an M.B.A. from Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business. Mr. Stein has led our Company since prior to it being a public company. In addition to his leadership skills, he has extensive experience in the real estate industry. He is a past chairman of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (“NAREIT”). Mr. Stein is a member of the Urban Land Institute (“ULI”), the International Council of Shopping Centers (“ICSC”) and the Real Estate Roundtable. Mr. Stein is a former trustee of Washington and Lee University and ULI.
Mr. Schweitzer, age 72, has served on our Board since 1999. Mr. Schweitzer is President of Westgate Corporation, which holds investments in real estate and venture capital operations. Mr. Schweitzer serves as our lead director. He previously served as a member of Pacific Retail Trust’s board of trustees before its merger into Regency in 1999. He has not held any other public company directorships during the past five years. Mr. Schweitzer previously served as a director or officer of a number of public companies and financial institutions, including Archstone-Smith Trust, J.P. Morgan Chase Bank of Texas-Austin, Franklin Federal Bancorp, Elgin Clock Company, El Paso Electric Company, MBank El Paso, the Circle K Corporation, Homestead Village Incorporated and Enerserv Products. Mr. Schweitzer is a graduate of the University of Missouri and has an M.B.A. from the University of Missouri. Mr. Schweitzer has served on the boards of numerous public companies, many of which are real estate companies. He has a strong background in business and finance with extensive experience in public company strategies, executive compensation and human resource issues.
Mr. Azrack, age 69, has served on our Board since March 2017. He served as director on the board of Equity One, Inc. from 2016 until its merger with us. Mr. Azrack is the principal of Azrack & Company, a real estate investment and advisory firm located in New York City which he founded in January 2015. Since June 2014, Mr. Azrack has also served as a director of the Berkshire Group, a private real estate investment management company focused on the ownership of multifamily properties and venture investing. Since January 2015, Mr. Azrack has also served as the executive chairman of the Safanad, a global principal investment firm with offices in New York, London and Dubai. From 2008 through 2014, Mr. Azrack was the managing partner, chairman and senior advisor at Apollo Global Real Estate Management. In this capacity, he served as the chairman and chief executive officer of Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance, Inc., a publicly traded company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and a director of Atrium European Real Estate Ltd., a leading real estate company that owns, operates and develops shopping centers in Central and Eastern Europe, the shares of which are dual listed on the Vienna and NYSE Euronext Amsterdam Stock Exchanges. Mr. Azrack is the chairman of the I-195 District Redevelopment Commission in Providence, Rhode Island and an adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business where he has taught real estate entrepreneurship since October 2014. Mr. Azrack received a B.S. from Villanova University and a Master of Business Administration from Columbia University. Mr. Azrack has real estate and financial expertise as well as experience as an investor and executive of real estate companies.
Mr. Bank, age 63, has served on our Board since 1997. Mr. Bank was a founder and President of Merchant Partners, a venture capital firm focusing on retail, direct marketing, and consumer service companies, from 1994 through 2004. Since 1991, he has served as President of Raymond L. Bank & Associates, Inc., a firm investing in and advising marketing-driven companies in the retail, direct marketing and services sectors. Mr. Bank has an A.B. from Vassar College, a J.D. from University of Baltimore Law School and an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Mr. Bank is an experienced venture investor who has significant experience with consumer and business-to-business marketing driven companies. Mr. Bank has significant knowledge of the capital markets. He has served as a director of both public and private companies and as a trustee of a number of charitable institutions. He has not held any other public company directorships during the past five years.
Mr. Blair, age 58, has served on our Board since October 2014. Mr. Blair currently serves as Executive Chairman of Invitation Homes, Inc. He was formerly Chairman, from 2002 through 2013, and Chief Executive Officer, from 2001 through 2012, of AvalonBay Communities, Inc., a real estate investment trust focused on the development, acquisition and management of multi-family apartments throughout the United States. Mr. Blair is a director of PulteGroup, Inc., one of the largest home builders in the U.S. He is the past chairman of NAREIT where he also served on the Executive Committee and Board of Governors. He serves on the advisory board of the Boston College Real Estate Center and Home Start, a non-profit focused on ending homelessness in the greater Boston area. He received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree in civil engineering from the University of New Hampshire. Mr. Blair has substantial experience in real estate development and investment, including more than ten years as chairman and chief executive officer of a public real estate investment trust. In such capacity, Mr. Blair was responsible for day to day operations and was regularly involved in the preparation and review of complex financial reporting statements. He is a past member of ULI where he served as a Trustee and was past chairman of the Multi-Family Council. Mr. Blair is a past member of the Young Presidents Organization and a former member of the World Presidents Organization.
Mr. Blankenship, age 67, has served on our Board since 2001, and currently serves as a director of Civeo Corporation, a provider of work-force accommodations. Mr. Blankenship has not held any other public company directorships during the past five years. Mr. Blankenship served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Verde Realty from January 2009 and as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer from January 2012 to December 2012 when Verde Realty merged with Brookfield Asset Management. Upon completion of the merger, Mr. Blankenship continued as the Chief Executive Officer of Verde Realty until August 2013. Prior to 2009, he served as Co-Chairman of Verde Group beginning in 2003. From 1998 until 2003, he was Vice Chairman of Security Capital Group Incorporated which was sold to GE Capital Corporation in 2002. He was Chief Operating Officer of Security Capital from 1998 to 2002 and Managing Director from 1991 until 1998. Prior to 1997, he was the Chief Executive Officer of Archstone Communities Trust. Mr. Blankenship was formerly a trustee of Prologis Trust and was formerly a director of Archstone Communities Trust, BelmontCorp, InterPark Holdings Incorporated, Storage USA, Inc., CarrAmerica Realty Corporation and Macquarie Capital Partners, LLC. He also served as Interim Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and director of Homestead Village Incorporated from 1999 until 2001. Mr. Blankenship serves as a director of Pacolet-Miliken Enterprises, Inc., a private investment company, Berkshire Group, a private real estate investment management company, and Carefree Communities, Inc., a privately held owner and operator of high quality senior manufactured home and extended stay recreational vehicle communities. Mr. Blankenship is a certified public accountant and a graduate of the University of Texas. Mr. Blankenship has extensive experience in the REIT industry including cross-border experience. He is an expert in real estate development, acquisitions, financing and operations. He has extensive experience in public company financing, strategic planning, capital allocation, people management and executive compensation. While he was with Security Capital Group, Security Capital Group had controlling interests in 18 public and private real estate operating companies, eight of which were listed on the NYSE. Prior to joining Security Capital, Mr. Blankenship was a regional partner at Trammell Crow Residential and was on the management board for Trammell Crow Residential Services. Before Trammell Crow, Mr. Blankenship was the chief financial officer and president of office development for Mischer Corporation, a Houston-based real estate development company.
Ms. Fiala, age 65, has served on our Board since 1997. Ms. Fiala is our former Chief Operating Officer, having served from January 1999 to December 2009. She also served as our President from January 1999 to February 2009 and then as Vice Chairman until December 2009. Before joining us, she was Managing Director - Security Capital U.S. Realty Strategic Group from 1997 to January 1999. Ms. Fiala was Senior Vice President and Director of Stores, New England - Macy’s East/Federated Department Stores from 1994 to 1997. From 1976 to 1994, Ms. Fiala held various merchandising and store operations positions with Macy’s/Federated Department Stores. Ms. Fiala currently serves as a director of General Growth Properties, Inc. and Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc., where she also serves as non-executive chairman. Ms. Fiala formerly served as the Co-Chairman of LOFT Unlimited, a personal financial and business consulting firm, and as a director of Flat Out Crazy, Inc., a privately held restaurant chain. Ms. Fiala has not held any other public company directorships during the past five years other than with CNL Macquarie Global Growth Trust. Ms. Fiala is a graduate of Miami University. Ms. Fiala has extensive knowledge of our Company from her service both as an officer and as a director. She has significant knowledge of the retail industry which provides us with great insight into our tenants. She is a former chairman, and current member, of the board of trustees of the ICSC. She also has strong skills in operations management, organizational management, marketing and human resources.
Dr. Linneman, age 66, has served on our Board since March 2017. He served as director on the board of Equity One, Inc. from 2000 until its merger with us. From 1979 to 2011, Dr. Linneman was a Professor of Real Estate, Finance and Public Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business and is currently an Emeritus Albert Sussman Professor of Real Estate there. Dr. Linneman is currently a principal of Linneman Associates, a real estate advisory firm, and a principal of American Land Funds, a private equity firm. Dr. Linneman is currently serving as an independent director of AG Mortgage Investment Trust, Inc., Paramount Group, Inc. and Equity Commonwealth. He previously served as independent director of Atrium European Real Estate Ltd., Bedford Property Investors, Inc. and JER Investors Trust, Inc. and was chairman of Rockefeller Center Properties. Dr. Linneman holds both a masters and a doctorate degree in economics from the University of Chicago. Dr. Linneman has significant experience in financial and business advisory services, investment activity and as member of numerous public and private boards, including many real estate companies.
Mr. O’Connor, age 53, has served on our Board since August 2011. Mr. O’Connor is a private investor and serves as managing partner of High Rise Capital Partners, LLC and Non-Executive Co- Chairman of HighBrook Investment Management, LP, a real estate private equity firm. He was the cofounder and Senior Managing Partner of High Rise Capital Management, L.P., a real estate securities hedge fund manager which managed several funds from 2001 to 2011. From 1994 to 2000, he was Principal, Co-Portfolio Manager and Investment Committee Member of European Investors, Inc., a large dedicated REIT investor. Mr. O’Connor is a graduate of the Carroll School of Management at Boston College and has an M.S. degree in Real Estate from New York University. Mr. O’Connor is an experienced and successful real estate securities investor as well as hedge fund manager. He has extensive knowledge and experience in real estate securities and capital markets. He serves on the Board of Trustees of Boston College, the investment committees of endowments for Boston College and Columbia University (Teacher’s College) and serves on the executive committee of the Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He is a frequent speaker at REIT investment forums and conferences and has served as an Adjunct Instructor of Real Estate at New York University. Mr. O’Connor is a director of Paramount Group, Inc., an owner-operator and manager of high-quality office properties, and Prologis, Inc., a global leader in industrial real estate. He has not held any other public company directorships during the past five years.
Mr. Wattles, age 65, has served on our Board since 2001. Since 2003, Mr. Wattles has been Executive Chairman of DCT Industrial Trust, a publicly held industrial property REIT and will become Chairman Emeritus of DCT Industrial Trust in May, 2016. Mr. Wattles is also a director of Columbia Property Trust, a publicly held office REIT, and has not held any other public company directorships during the past five years. Mr. Wattles was a principal of both Black Creek Group and Dividend Capital Group LLC, each a real estate investment management firm, from 2003 to 2008. He served as Chief Investment Officer of Security Capital Group from 1997 to 2002. Mr. Wattles was Managing Director, then Co-Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of ProLogis, Inc. from 1992 to 1997. Mr. Wattles has previously served as a director of Prologis, Inc., Interpark Holdings Incorporated and Security Capital European Realty. Mr. Wattles is a graduate of Stanford University and has an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Mr. Wattles has extensive experience in the REIT industry, including cross-border experience. At Security Capital Group, he oversaw capital deployment and investments in multiple public and private operating platforms with focus on retail, industrial, parking, manufactured housing and European office sectors. While Mr. Wattles was with Security Capital Group, Security Capital Group had controlling interests in 18 public and private real estate operating companies, eight of which were listed on the NYSE. He is an expert in real estate development, acquisitions, finance and operations. He has significant knowledge of capital allocation, strategic planning and accounting.