Equity International, the real estate investment firm founded by billionaire Sam Zell lost three senior executives this week, according to report from Craig Karmin of the Wall Street Journal.
According to Equity International, its chief operating officer, Ira Chaplik resigned from his position. In an interview, Chaplik explained that he is “transitioning” and decided to serve as an advisor to the real estate investment firm.
Two other executives namely Brian Richter, general counsel and Cherul Engle, executive vice president in charge of tax structuring also stepped down from their roles. Equity International said that Richter and Engle will become outside consultants to the firm.
Internal Arrangement With Sam Zell:
Chapik explained that they made an internal arrangement with Zell. He also said that the departures were part of an orderly transition. The changes in the firm’s organization will be effective on June 30.
In September last year, Gary Garrabrant relinquished his position as chief executive officer of Equity International. The real estate investment firm did not disclose the reason behind Garrabant’s resignation. Zell stepped in as interim CEO. Back then, the billionaire real estate investor emphasized that he is “actively engaged in the business” operation of the firm. He also said that Equity International has the capacity to contribute in the transition process.
Aside from Garrabrant, Thomas McDonald, chief strategic officer of Equity International also resigned last year. According to the Wall Street Journal, the head of capital markets also resigned from Zell’s firm recently.
The current CEO of Equity International is Tom Heneghan. The firm appointed him last February. He led Equity Lifestyle Properties, Inc. (NYSE:ELS) before joining the firm. “Tom has a long and successful track record building companies and platforms, and he brings exceptional leadership and operational experience that complement El’s existing management team. I am exceedingly pleased to have Tom lead El,” commented Sam Zell.
Regarding the recent resignation of the three executives, Heneghan said, “We value the contributions Ira, Brian and Cheryl have made in growing [Equity International], and are fortunate we will continue to benefit from their expertise and institutional knowledge in a consulting capacity, and in Ira’s case, in an advisory capacity to EI ownership.”
Analysts speculated that Equity International might face difficulties in raising capital in the future due to the departure of its executives. It is expected to continue to investment its remaining resources of approximately $300 million.
Zell established Equity International in 1999. The firm is recognized as one of the leading real estate investors worldwide. Early this month, the firm sold its stake in Shanghai Jingrui Properties Co. Ltd, a privately held builder based in China.