Commercial real estate in North America is at a crossroads: while investment in the sector continues to increase, developers, asset managers and investors are facing new challenges when recruiting executives with the skills and experience needed to execute their organization’s strategic growth plans. With the rate of executive retirements in the sector accelerating, succession planning and developing the next generation of leaders is becoming more and more critical to organizational success.

To meet these challenges, global executive search firm Odgers Berndtson is strengthening its North American real estate and infrastructure practice with the appointment of Robert Baron as Partner and National Practice Leader, Real Estate & Infrastructure. Robert brings a team of recruitment specialists including Engagement Managers Angie Laframbroise and Angela Bond, and Sheryl Song, a Senior Consultant with the firm.

“Robert brings deep insight and experience at all levels of the North American real estate market to meet our clients’ growing demand for top talent,” said Carl Lovas, Chairman of Odgers Berndtson in Canada. “Building our expertise in this area is just another example of our continued commitment to provide our clients with industry and functional specialists who really understand their business and their specific leadership challenges.”

Based in Toronto, Robert will lead the firm’s work on behalf of developers, investors, lenders, occupiers and service providers in the real estate and physical infrastructure sectors. Given the skills gap at the senior level, he will also work closely with Odgers Berndtson’s Executive Interim division (Odgers Interim) to provide clients with flexible, short-term, senior talent solutions, while also partnering with the firm’s Leadership Practice to help identify and assess the next generation of “rising stars” that will help organizations stay ahead of their competitors.

“Firms require leaders with the skills and experience to drive returns from their real estate investments in a competitive market,” said Mr. Baron. “Identifying and recruiting high performing candidates has become an urgent priority, and many firms are using this opportunity to augment their leadership teams as they plan for succession.”

Prior to joining Odgers Berndtson, Robert was the Founder and President of BCGI American Real Estate Executive Search, and has led over 1,000 real estate searches across North America since 1995. He was also previously in investment sales at CBRE and investment banking at CIBC World Markets. Robert is on the Advisory Board for View Glass and is a trustee of NorthWest Healthcare Properties REIT.

Recognized as an industry expert, Robert has made presentations across North America, including to Harvard’s Real Estate Academic Initiative, NYU’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, Columbia’s Masters in Real Estate Program, and Wharton’s Real Estate Alumni. He and his team founded re:HR, a not-for-profit professional association dedicated to providing opportunities for collaboration, networking and professional development for human resources professionals within the real estate industry.

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