NorthStar CFO Scott Berry leaves at short notice

  • Signs for push-out forces
  • After less than a year and a half on the job
  • No successor named

(exechange) — New York, March 30, 2017 — Scott Berry, finance chief of NorthStar, leaves. It is a change at short notice. As announced by NorthStar Realty Europe Corp. in a regulatory filing published on Thursday, March 30, 2017, Scott A. Berry leaves the post as Chief Financial Officer at the real estate investment trust company in a surprising move after less than a year and a half on the job, effective May 10, 2017.

No company wants a CFO to flame out in the first years.

Berry’s move comes 18 months after David T. Hamamoto took over as chairman of NorthStar.

NorthStar did not name a replacement for the position of Chief Financial Officer.

No reason given

In the announcement, NorthStar did not explicitly explain the reason for Berry’s imminent move, opening the door for speculation.

Precise information about the future plans of Berry was not immediately available.

“Resign”

NorthStar said: “On March 27, 2017, Scott A. Berry, the Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of NorthStar Realty Europe Corp. …, notified the Company of his decision to resign, effective on May 10, 2017.”

“Not a result of any disagreement”

“The decision by Mr. Berry was not a result of any disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies or practices,” NorthStar said.

It is a phrase that may be intended to prevent false rumors. It may also fuel further speculation and raise more questions than it answers. Such a phrase should be read very carefully. The exact wording may be insightful.

Chaired by David T. Hamamoto

NorthStar Realty Europe Corp. is chaired by David T. Hamamoto.

Hamamoto has served as Chairman of the board of directors of NorthStar Realty Europe Corp. since October 2015 and as a director since June 2015.

CEO: Mahbod Nia

Mahbod Nia serves as CEO of NorthStar Realty Europe Corp. Nia has served as Chief Executive Officer and President of NorthStar Realty Europe Corp. since June 2015.

On the job as CFO since 2015

Berry has served as Chief Financial Officer of NorthStar Realty Europe Corp. since December 2015.

Berry also serves as Managing Director at Colony NorthStar, Inc., a position he has held since January 2017 and served as Managing Director at NorthStar Asset Management Group, Inc. between December 2015 and January 2017.

Berry previously served as the Co-Chief Financial Officer of Eurocastle Investment Limited, a publicly traded closed-ended investment firm that is managed by Fortress Investment Group, which he joined in September 2011.

Berry also served on the Audit Committee, Management Boards and Transaction Approval Panel of Eurocastle Investment Limited.

Prior to his position with Eurocastle Investment Limited, he served as the Financial Controller for CBS Outdoor Limited from November 2007 until September 2011 and served on the Operating Board and Deal Board of this company.

Berry held management positions in finance at Airwave Solutions Limited from August 2006 to November 2007 and Ford Motor Car Company Limited from March 2006 to August 2006.

Berry qualified as a chartered accountant with Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited in 2003 and is registered with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Berry holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Accounting from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

Unexpected

Generally speaking, when a top manager announces to step aside with no successor available, it’s a sign that the change was unplanned and too early.

Signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Scott Berry’s imminent move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange suggests that push-out forces may have contributed to the management change.

Read the full story in the exechange report 14.2017 ($).