KKR Real Estate Co-CEO Chris Lee leaves his post

  • Push-out Score determined
  • After about four and a half years in the position
  • Praise and thanks for Lee
  • Dual Chief Executive Officer role eliminated
  • Matt Salem becomes sole Chief Executive Officer
  • Lee will remain as Vice Chairman at KKR Real Estate
  • Lee said 124 words

(exechange) — New York, March 10, 2020 — Chris Lee, co-chief executive of KKR Real Estate, leaves his position. As announced by KKR Real Estate Finance Trust Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Tuesday, March 10, 2020, Christen E.J. (Chris) Lee has left his post as co-chief executive officer at the real estate finance company after about four and a half years in the role, effective March 9, 2020.

KKR Real Estate eliminates the dual Chief Executive Officer role. Matthew A. (Matt) Salem will be sole Chief Executive Officer.

Chris Lee’s move forms part of a management shake-up also involving the positions of President; and Secretary.

“To focus on continuing to build our broader integrated U.S. real estate business”

A clear and transparent reason for Chris Lee’s departure from the Co-CEO post was not explicitly provided. Chris Lee said: “This transition will not change my focus on the investment strategy and the strategic direction of KREF, but it will allow me to focus on continuing to build our broader integrated U.S. real estate business which delivers tangible benefits to KREF.”

Lee will remain as Vice Chairman at KKR Real Estate

“Chris Lee will continue to be actively involved with the Company and has been nominated for election to the Board of Directors of KREF as Vice Chairman at its upcoming shareholders meeting scheduled for April 27, 2020,” KKR Real Estate said.

KKR Real Estate further said: “The leadership transitions will be effective immediately with the exception of Chris Lee’s role as Vice Chairman of the KREF Board of Directors which is subject to shareholder approval at the annual shareholders meeting.”

Share price decline

The announcement follows a decline in KKR Real Estate Finance Trust Inc.’s share price of 9% since March 2019.

Chaired by Ralph F. Rosenberg

KKR Real Estate Finance Trust Inc. is chaired by Ralph F. Rosenberg.

Ralph F. Rosenberg has served as a director since October 2014 and is the Chairman of the Company’s board of directors. Rosenberg is also a member of the Company’s Manager’s investment committee.

In the position of Co-CEO since 2015

Chris Lee became Co-CEO of the Company in 2015.

Chris Lee joined KKR in 2012 and is a Partner and responsible for KKR’s Real Estate business in the Americas, overseeing both equity and credit investing platforms in the region.

He served as Co-Chief Executive Officer and Co-President of the Company and of the Company’s Manager since October 2015 and March 2016, respectively.

He sits on KKR’s Real Estate Equity and Credit Investment Committees in the Americas, KKR’s Real Estate Equity and Credit Portfolio Management Committees in the Americas, KKR’s Inclusion and Diversity Council and chairs KKR’s Real Estate Valuation Committee.

Prior to joining KKR, Lee spent three years at Apollo Global Management on their global real estate team where he focused on real estate acquisitions.

He also worked at Goldman Sachs in the merchant banking division’s real estate principal investment area (REPIA) for over five years after spending two years in the investment banking division.

Lee earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and his Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Emory University.

He is a former trustee of St. Mark’s School of Texas in Dallas, TX.

Lee currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) in New York, New York and as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for Emory College of Arts and Sciences in Atlanta, Georgia.

He is a member of the CRE Finance Council, Pension Real Estate Association, Real Estate Capital Policy Advisory Committee for the Real Estate Roundtable, Real Estate Executive Council, Manhattan Chapter of YPO and Urban Land Institute where he sits on one of its Urban Development and Mixed-Use Councils.

In connection with Lee’s transition to the Vice Chairman role, the Board named Matthew Salem, the Company’s Co-Chief Executive Officer and Co-President, as the Company’s sole Chief Executive Officer, and named W. Patrick Mattson, the Company’s Chief Operating Officer and Secretary, as the Company’s President and Chief Operating Officer, in each case, effective as of March 9, 2020.

Push-out Score determined

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange gauges the pressure surrounding the management change on a scale of 0 to 10.

exechange reached out to KKR Real Estate and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 11.2020 ($).