ICSC elects Forest City’s David J. LaRue 2013-14 chairman
Publish Date: May 20, 2013
David J. LaRue, president and CEO of Forest City Enterprises, was elected chairman of ICSC for the 2013–2014 term on Monday. His election provides ICSC with a leader from one of the most recognizable U.S. development firms to the public at large.
"I look forward to the opportunity to get closer to our members in the U.S. and abroad over the next year," LaRue said immediately after his election.
LaRue, 52, has been an active ICSC member for nearly 20 years and a trustee since 2008, playing a key role in the organization’s administration and many of its activities. In June 2011 he succeeded Charles A. Ratner as head of Forest City, becoming the first chief executive in the company’s 90-year history not to be related to its founding family.
Forest City is noted for the diversity of its real estate, which encompasses just about every project type across a range of market categories. The publicly traded company owns retail, office and residential properties in key markets around the United States. The combined value of those properties is some $10.7 billion and includes regional lifestyle, neighborhood and enclosed centers as well as urban, big-box, entertainment, residential and office retail. There is similar variety in the firm’s residential development, which includes apartments, condos, master-planned communities, and housing for the elderly and for military personnel. Forest City’s high-profile developments include such mixed-use projects as the 4,700-acre Stapleton community, in Denver, and the recently opened Barclays Center stadium, in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. Other famous projects include The New York Times building, in Manhattan, and University Park at MIT, near Boston.
The company is also a leader in sustainable development, and several of its projects have attained LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Stapleton is LEED-certified, and The Yards Park, in the Capitol Riverfront district of Washington, D.C., is LEED Gold–certified, as will be the Waterfront Station retail-office building, also in Washington.
“Forest City’s experience over such a wide spectrum of real estate categories makes David a great choice for chairman of ICSC,” said Michael P. Kercheval, ICSC’s president and CEO, noting the organization’s increasingly broad membership. “Our members are building shopping centers, mixed-use and other kinds of projects; they are everywhere, and working in every kind of real estate.”
Forest City’s embrace of sustainable and innovative development also makes LaRue a good choice as the industry positions itself for the future, Kercheval added.
Forest City is not diverse only in terms of its real estate, however. One of the company’s core values is diversity and inclusion, both in terms of its employees and the communities in which it operates. The company employs a director of diversity and inclusion, and is a major sponsor of the Real Estate Associate Program, established in 1997 to promote diversity in the real estate industry. A challenge for the industry is to recognize and respond to demographic changes in the U.S., both at the consumer level and in terms of promoting workplace diversity, LaRue says. “Our industry must have a sharper focus on this important issue,” he said.
LaRue, who holds a bachelor’s in business and accounting from Wittenberg University, began his career as an internal auditor and financial analyst at The Sherwin-Williams Co. He joined Forest City in 1986 as a financial analyst, rising to executive vice president and COO in March 2010. He has served on the ICSC Global Task Force, taking part in the most ambitious review of the organization’s programs and services. He has been an advocate of ICSC’s Global Public Policy efforts in Washington, contributing to the ICSC PAC, and he has spoken at ICSC events.
One of ICSC’s priorities for the coming year will be House approval for federal legislation requiring online retailers to collect sales taxes in those states in which brick-and-mortar retailers are required to. “Traditional physical stores cannot continue to be discriminated against by this tax policy,” said LaRue. Reform in this area would also benefit cash-strapped state and local public coffers, he says.
LaRue is active in his community as a member of various professional, charitable and artistic organizations, including the Cleveland School of the Arts. He helped found the Basketball Challenge Cup, a series of charity games held every spring in Rocky River, the Cleveland suburb where he and his wife, Cindy, have raised their four children. The event raises money to fight drug and alcohol abuse among young people.
LaRue succeeds Brad M. Hutensky, president and principal of Hutensky Capital Partners, Hartford, Conn.
Meanwhile, at the Meeting of Members, the following were elected to the Board of Trustees: William B. Horner, CFO, Fitness International; James J. Lampassi, vice president, real estate and construction, Petco; Carlos Medeiros, CEO, BR Malls; Mark L. Myers, executive vice president, head of commercial real estate, Wells Fargo Bank; Brian Smith, president and COO, Regency Centers; and Arturo Sneider, SCLS, partner, Primestor Development.
The following were re-elected to the Board: Kenneth F. Bernstein; Holly Cohen; Vincent A. Corno; Carl L. Goertemoeller; and Donald C. Wood.
Trustees whose terms of service end today are James Bersani, Gordon T. “Skip” Greeby Jr., SCDP; Donald G. Provost; Matthew E. Rubel; and René Tremblay (he will remain a nonvoting past chairman).
Elected to the ICSC Executive Committee as divisional vice presidents were: Adam W. Ifshin (Eastern and Government Relations); Vincent A. Corno (Central); Bruce D. Pomeroy, SCDP (Western); Martin A. Mayer (Southern); John R. Morrison, CDP (Canadian); Marcus Wild (Europe); Michael Rodel (International Advisory Committee); and Secretary-Treasurer Kenneth A. McIntyre Jr.
Appointed as at-large members are: Thomas J. Connolly SCLS, CDP, Carl L. Goertemoeller and Sandeep Mathrani. Gary D. Rappaport SCMD, SCSM, SCLS, SCDP, ICSC PAC; and Christopher J. Niehaus, Investment and Employee Retirement Committee.
ICSC past chairmen serving on the Executive Committee are: Brad Hutensky; David B. Henry, William S. Taubman, Peter Sharpe and Mary Lou Fiala.