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CBRE's Capital-Markets Chief To Step Down

April 9, 2024

“It’s not every day one of the top names in commercial real estate brokerage starts his goodbye tour. But as Real Estate Alert exclusively reports, CBRE's Chris Ludeman is retiring, effective May 1. Even though the 40-year veteran - the firm's president of global capital markets - will stay on as a senior advisor through yearend, it’s a changing of the guard at CBRE.”

Real Estate Alert breaking news report reviewing Luderman's step down with direct statements from CBRE.


CBRE’s Capital-Markets Chief To Step Down

Brokerage veteran Christopher Ludeman, CBRE’s longtime president of global capital markets, is retiring after more than 40 years with the firm.

Ludeman is set to step down from his post on May 1, though he’ll stay on as a senior advisor through the rest of the year.

CBRE has yet to name a successor. Three senior leaders who work under Ludeman — Kevin Aussef, president of U.S. investment sales; James Millon, president of U.S. debt and structured finance; and Leo van den Thillart, global head of investment banking — will report directly to advisory-services chief executive Jack Durburg.

Ludeman joined CBRE as a trainee in 1980, in the period leading up to the savings-and-loan crisis, and progressed through local and regional leadership positions across the U.S., including heading brokerage, transaction management and global corporate services. He took the helm of global capital markets in 2011, in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Throughout his leadership of the capital-markets group, CBRE ranked either first or second in Real Estate Alert’s league table of brokers across property sectors, with a 23.1% weighted average market share of deals valued at $25 million or more. For the past seven years, the firm has topped that overall ranking.

At the start of his career with CBRE, the commercial real estate sector was “more of a cottage industry, a quirky alternative investment,” driven largely by relationships, Ludeman said. But commercial real estate changed as capital allocations increased dramatically over the past two decades and institutional buyers increased investment in the space.

“With institutional capital on the rise, so too did it require higher levels of sophistication in every dimension of the business. … Now, commercial real estate is highly technical, data-driven and consultative, which attracts ever smarter people [working in the brokerage space],” Ludeman said.

Like several brokerages, CBRE also has grown with the marketplace. When Ludeman started at the firm, it was primarily a U.S. player with about 600 staffers in 30 offices. Today, it has 130,000 employees across more than 500 offices in 100-plus countries.

Over the course of Ludeman’s tenure, CBRE built out service lines for each of the individual sectors, lining up pros to lead them and work collaboratively with the firm’s other practices. They include Kelli Carhart (multifamily), Matt Carlson and Patrick Gildea (office), Chris Decoufle (retail), Bill Grice (hotels), Will Pike (net lease) and Chris Riley (industrial).

“The industry is so much better today than it was 40 years ago. The level of both strategic and technical abilities that are required to excel are far above what we had decades ago,” Ludeman said. “I believe our industry will take significant leaps forward, and its best days are ahead. It has been a privilege and an honor to be a participant in the process and watch the evolution of our industry.”

Real Estate Alert is widely recognized as the market's early warning system for buyers and sellers of major U.S. CRE properties. The newsletter has covered the commercial real estate sector through multiple market booms and crises for more than thirty years. Real Estate Alert's veteran reporting team closely monitors transaction activity and market trends, enabling us to offer timely insights and actionable intelligence on investment opportunities across asset classes. Newsletter Readers are able to leverage top players' investment tactics, spot imminent risks and opportunities, and garner a recruitment edge.

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