Gunnar Branson, a 25-year commercial real estate veteran, has been named chief executive and president of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Managers (NAREIM), effective today.
Branson is the third CEO of the 20-year-old organization. He succeeds Stephen Renna, who served three years in the position and left the organization in April to head the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council.
In his new position, Branson will act as the public figure of NAREIM and preside over the association’s meetings and roundtables. Additionally, he will focus on “continuing the growth of the organization and determining its path as the industry changes.”
Branson said he was excited about his new job, calling investment managers “the brain trust” of the commercial real estate industry. “As managers of commercial real estate portfolios of significant size, for third-party investors as well as themselves, they have a very methodical approach to this industry and, as such, I personally believe they have a perspective that’s much broader and much deeper than many others,” he told PERE.
The selection of Branson concludes an extensive four-month search by FPL Associates and a four-member search committee of NAREIM’s board. Branson had been one of five finalists for the position.
Prior to joining NAREIM, Branson founded and ran his own business development consulting firm, Branson Powers. Before that, he served as chief marketing officer at Heller Financial, which was acquired by GE Capital. He previously served as director of global communications of GE Capital Real Estate.