Courtland finalizes succession plan

The Cleveland, Ohio-based real assets consulting firm has now brought on three new equity owners.

Courtland Partners has settled on a succession plan that expands the Cleveland, Ohio-based real assets consulting firm’s ownership and leadership to include three additional senior executives, the company said on Thursday.

Under the succession plan, managing director Michael Murphy, managing director of Europe Gianluca Romano and senior vice president Andrew Mitro have all been awarded profits and equity interests in the firm. The estate of Michael Humphrey, who passed away suddenly in November, managing principal Steven Novick and Courtland EPPV 2016, an employees profits interest plan, also continue to have ownership interests in Courtland.

In October, PERE reported on the creation of the succession plan, under which Humphrey planned to sell part of his interest to Murphy, Romano and Mitro. Humphrey had indirectly controlled 90 percent of the voting rights in Courtland, while Novick owned a 10 percent voting interest, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The succession plan was finalized during the second quarter and was effective retroactively on January 1. Murphy and Mitro have been with the firm for 13 years and eight years, respectively. Romano, who also is head of Courtland’s London office, joined three-and-a-half years ago.

Since the start of the year, Courtland has been re-selected or renewed by four clients, including the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power pension plan, and also has signed with three new clients. These client relationships include public pension plans, private pension plans and financial institutions in the US, Europe and Asia.

“We believe that our commitment to being ‘fiduciary first’ and providing independent advice appropriate to each of our clients’ unique circumstances has resulted in our recent contract renewals and growth,” Novick said in a statement.

He added: “The implementation of this succession plan demonstrates Courtland’s stable and diversified ownership and management. Courtland has always considered and will continue to consider strategic initiatives that could lead to an improved value proposition for its clients. The new ownership and management team are well-positioned to evaluate any such initiative. Consistent with the firm’s client-first philosophy, Courtland would always consult with all clients first before moving forward with any strategic initiative that would significantly affect the way Courtland operates.”

Earlier this week, PERE reported that Courtland was considering a sale of the firm and had hired Los Angeles-based boutique investment bank Ocean Park in the past month to handle the deal. The firm has already received bids from a number of interested parties, including fellow consulting firm, Portland, Oregon-based RVK.

Founded in 1995, Courtland Partners provides real estate, infrastructure, energy, timber and agriculture advisory services and has offices in Cleveland, Los Angeles and London. The firm had $63 billion of advisory assets and nearly $2 billion of discretionary assets as of April 4, according to an SEC filing.