NAI Hiffman names new CEO
(Crain's) — NAI Hiffman executive David A. Petersen will take over next month as CEO of the real estate firm.
Mr. Petersen, who is chief operating officer, will take over the post July 1 from Dennis Hiffman, who founded the firm in 2000 and will remain full-time chairman.
Mr. Petersen, 58, who joined the Oakbrook Terrace-based firm in 2006, will continue to head its asset management division. NAI Hiffman manages more than 55 million square feet locally, making the firm the largest property manager in the Chicago area, according to a Crain's ranking.
The move lets Mr. Hiffman focus on client relationships and strategy while Mr. Petersen concentrates on day-to-day execution and management, a spokeswoman says.
“We considered a number of very qualified individuals but Petersen was a natural choice because of his strong execution skills, proven ability to lead, and the trust level he has achieved with all our stakeholders,” Mr. Hiffman said in a statement. He founded NAI Hiffman in 2000 after splitting from Chicago-based Hiffman Shaffer Associates Inc., which no longer exists.
NAI Hiffman has 210 employees, with 135 in asset management and the remainder in brokerage. It is part of the NAI Global network.
Mr. Petersen characterized the move as positioning the firm for its next round of growth. The goal is to double revenue in the next five years for the privately held firm, which does not disclose financial information.
Mr. Petersen grew up in Muscatine, Iowa, and joined the Navy after high school, serving two tours in Vietnam and Southeast Asia aboard the U.S.S. Constellation.
When he returned to Iowa, he started a home renovation business and eventually landed a job managing a small commercial portfolio for a Muscatine real estate firm. He moved to Chicago after he landed a job with a firm known today as Podolsky Northstar Realty Partners LLC. He left that company in 1988.
In 1999, he joined Trammell Crow Co.'s Chicago office as vice-president of Trammell's Midwest Property Management Group. At Trammel, Mr. Petersen oversaw the firm's managed commercial portfolio, which increased almost sevenfold to 20 million in the seven years he worked there. Mr. Petersen left Trammel in 2006 to run NAI's Asset Management Group.
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