Grubb & Ellis chief executive officer Scott Peters has resigned from the real estate investment firm effective immediately. The company said in a statement Peters resigned to “pursue other interests.”
However it follows months of pressure from shareholders, notably former Grubb & Ellis board chairman Anthony Thompson, who left the company to form his own real estate investment firm, Thompson National Properties, earlier this year.
Thompson was appointed Grubb & Ellis chairman in December 2007 when the company merged with NNN Realty Advisors earlier last year. He held the position for three months before launching his own private equity-style investment firm based in Irvine, California.
However as Grubb & Ellis’ second largest shareholder he has also put pressure on his former colleagues, recently filing a letter with the US Securities and Exchange Commission citing dismay over the company’s leadership and asking to be reappointed to the board.
In the letter he said Grubb & Ellis’ stock value had fallen 42 percent since the end of last year. “Although I fully understand the challenges presented by competition and the market, I refuse to accept that Grubb & Ellis’ stock should be permitted to significantly under-perform that of its industry peers.”
Announcing Peters’ resignation today, Grubb & Ellis said independent director Gary Hunt, advisor to developers Lennar Corporation and the Tejon Ranch Company, would take over as interim chief executive officer until a full-time replacement could be found.
The company – which owns the real estate investment trusts, Grubb & Ellis Realty Investors, Grubb & Ellis Apartment REIT and Grubb & Ellis Healthcare REIT – also suspended its quarterly dividend and unveiled plans to buy back $25 million (€15.7 million) of common stock.