Grubb & Ellis CEO resigns

Scott Peters has resigned as chief executive officer of the real estate investment company, effective immediately. The decision follows pressure from shareholders, notably the founder of private equity real estate firm Thompson National Properties and former Grubb & Ellis board chairman, Anthony Thompson.

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.