EXCLUSIVE: Cornerstone names new CEO

Long-time chief executive David Reilly will be transitioning into a new role in January.

David Reilly is stepping down as chief executive officer at Cornerstone Real Estate Advisors, after nearly two decades at the Hartford, Connecticut-based firm, PERE has learned. In a note to investors, which has been seen by PERE, Reilly revealed that he will be transitioning to the role of vice chairman on January 1. In this new position, he will be focused on strategic issues and special assignments, the note said.

Concurrently, Scott Brown, who currently is Cornerstone’s president, will take on the additional role of chief executive. Brown is being appointed to the real estate investment manager’s top post after less than a year at the firm, having taken over as president from Reilly when he joined Cornerstone in February. Indeed, in an announcement earlier this year, the firm noted that Brown’s hire was the result of “an extensive succession planning process.”

Reilly reiterated this point in his note: “To ensure the continued success of our firm and its clients, a well-thought-out succession plan is of utmost importance. In accordance with this planning process, my successor was very thoughtfully chosen.”

Commenting on Brown, Reilly said in the note: “His experience as an investor, consultant and advisor enables him to address your strategic objectives, together with those of Cornerstone. During his time with the firm, Scott has embraced our corporate culture, which marries well with his own leadership style. He will drive Cornerstone's continued growth, both domestically and globally.”

Brown previously served as Americas head of CBRE Global Multi Manager, where he managed global investment, portfolio management, client service and product and business development. Prior to that, he was head of global real estate at Ennis Knupp + Associates, now Hewitt EnnisKnupp, and also held positions at The PrivateEdge Group at State Street and Kenneth Leventhal.

Reilly joined Cornerstone in 1995 and was named chief executive a decade later, upon the retirement of founder Alan Connor. Before Cornerstone, the 40-year industry veteran served for three years as president of Mellon/McMahan, a real estate pension advisor, and from 1978 to 1992 was a managing director for Aetna Realty Investors, a subsidiary of Aetna Life & Casualty.

Cornerstone was founded in 1994 to manage the real estate equity investments of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance. It expanded into real estate debt investments in 2010, with the acquisition of Babson Capital Management’s real estate finance group. As of June 30, the firm managed more than $43 billion in assets through open- and closed-end private funds, separate accounts, co-investment programs, joint ventures and mutual funds. Its principal investment strategies are private real estate equity, private real estate debt, alternative investments and real estate equity and debt securities.

Cornerstone has approximately 350 employees across the globe. Outside of the US, the real estate investment manager has offices in the UK, Sweden, Finland, The Netherlands, Germany, Hong Kong and Tokyo.