Welanetz tapped to be ICSC chairman
Publish Date: January 24, 2014
Robert F. Welanetz, CRX, CSM, global retail real estate adviser to Blackstone Real Estate Partners and one of ICSC’s most active members, has been nominated to be the association’s chairman for the 2014–2015 term. The announcement was made today during the Board of Trustees’ midwinter meeting, in Miami. If, as expected, he is elected at ICSC’s annual meeting of members at RECon in May, Welanetz will become the organization’s 55th chairman, succeeding Chairman David J. LaRue, president and CEO of Forest City Enterprises.
Welanetz, 61, has a career that is as broad as it is long. It began some 35 years ago at The Hahn Co., under the legendary Ernest Hahn, where he held executive positions in development, management and investor relations. There he was involved in the development of such trophy centers as Horton Plaza, in San Diego, and Fashion Show Mall, in Las Vegas. He went on to serve as senior vice president of operations and leasing for Pan Pacific Development; managing director of retail at The Yarmouth Group; head of Lend Lease Retail Americas; and president and CEO of JLL Americas, Retail. His career then took him to Asia, where he was president and CEO of Shanghai Kinghill Ltd. and co-chairman of Chia Tai Real Estate; both firms are real estate subsidiaries of The CP Group, a Thailand-based international conglomerate. He was also on the board of Lotus Supercenters, CP’s 100-unit hypermarket chain in China.
Now based in Atlanta, Welanetz advises Blackstone Real Estate Partners on sourcing and creating investment strategies, underwriting acquisition targets and determining strategic asset management guidance for Blackstone’s global retail real estate portfolio.
All his extensive experience in the industry and with ICSC make Welanetz an ideal candidate for chairman, says Michael P. Kercheval, the organization’s president and CEO. “Welanetz’s career has flourished in tandem with ICSC’s growth over the decades,” said Kercheval. “His experience in multiple property sectors and markets, combined with his current position at Blackstone, gives him a panoramic view of our industry.”
A member of ICSC since 1982, Welanetz is a past member of the Board of Trustees. He served on the Executive Committee from 2003 to 2008, and he was Southern Division vice president from 2002 to 2005. Welanetz has been a student and a teacher in ICSC’s educational programs. He obtained his CSM certification in 1983 and his CRX this year. He was CSM Admissions & Governing Committee chairman in the mid-1990s, and for years served on the faculty of both ICSC’s University of Shopping Centers and the association’s John T. Riordan School for Professional Development, in the U.S. and abroad. He has also been a frequent speaker at ICSC events.
“Bob Welanetz is one of our most engaged volunteers, having involvement with many of ICSC’s programs throughout his 35-year career, which makes him uniquely qualified to lead this organization,” said Gary D. Rappaport, CRX, CDP, CLS, CMD, CSM, chief executive of the McLean, Va.–based Rappaport Cos. and chairman of ICSC’s Nominating Committee. “Wherever he has been in the world, Bob has always been at ICSC.”
Being active in ICSC offers a huge advantage to those wishing to advance their careers, Welanetz notes. “ICSC is invaluable to any serious industry professional,” he said, explaining that membership offers vital educational and networking opportunities. “It’s an industry that you must be passionate about, and in which you must actively take steps to become engaged.” While ICSC is growing internationally, it continues to play a vital role in such developed markets as the U.S. and Western Europe in providing education and advancing the industry’s interests with local and national governments, he says.
Welanetz is a graduate of Colorado State University and of executive management courses at INSEAD, the global business school. He has served on the board of Australia-based Galileo Americas Trust and on the advisory board of the National Association of Realtors He is currently on the advisory boards of Mokard, a China-based retail technology sales and marketing company; and Sino/U.S. Holdings, a U.S.-based investor in China market consumer product companies. He is also on the supervisory board of Netherlands-based Multi Corp.
Welanetz lives in Atlanta with his wife, Karen Spencer-Welanetz, and has three children: Colby, Jack and Parker.
"I applaud all the past ICSC chairmen, each with their own personality and style but each making a unique contribution to ICSC,” Welanetz told the Board, “and I'm pleased to join this group to help ICSC continue to flourish."