Real Estate

Finance & Economy

The future of cities with Mark Parrell, Equity Residential and Owen Thomas, Boston Properties

December 2, 2020

The future of cities with Mark Parrell, Equity Residential and Owen Thomas, Boston Properties

Mark Parrell & Owen Thomas

President & CEO of Equity Residential & CEO & Director of Boston Properties

To see how the urban vs suburban and office vs virtual work debates play out, you'll want to hear what Mark Parrell and Owen Thomas are seeing.

If you're looking to see how the urban vs suburban and office vs virtual work debates play out, you'll want to hear what the CEOs of two leading REITs are seeing. On this week's Walker Webcast, Walker & Dunlop's CEO, Willy Walker, spoke with Equity Residential President & CEO Mark Parrell and Boston Properties CEO & Director Owen Thomas about the pandemic's impact on urban centers, the potential comeback of the office space, and the CRE trends they are tracking most closely.

A bit about each speaker:

Willy Walker
Willy Walker

Willy Walker is chairman and chief executive officer of Walker & Dunlop. Under Mr. Walker’s leadership, Walker & Dunlop has grown from a small, family-owned business to become one of the largest commercial real estate finance companies in the United States. Walker & Dunlop is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and in its first seven years as a public company has seen its shares appreciate 547%.

Owen Thomas

Owen D. Thomas is the Chief Executive Officer and a Director of Boston Properties. He is a Director of Lehman Brothers Holdings and served as its first Chairman from 2012 until 2013 when he joined Boston Properties. Prior to Lehman, Mr. Thomas was with Morgan Stanley for 24 years serving in a number of different roles, business units and locations, including Chief Executive Officer of Morgan Stanley Asia and Chairman of Mitsubishi  UFJ  Morgan Stanley Securities, while iving  in  Hong  Kong from 2008 until 2011. He also held the roles of President of Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Head of Morgan Stanley Real Estate and served on Morgan Stanley's Management Committee from 2005 until 2011.

Mr. Thomas is the Global Chairman of the Urban Land Institute, a Director of the Urban Land Institute Foundation, a Director of the Real Estate Roundtable, and a member of the Executive Board of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts. He is a Director of Episcopal Charities of New York and formerly Chairman of the Pension Real Estate Association and Director of the University of Virginia Investment Management Company. He attended and is a former Trustee of Woodberry Forest School, received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Mark Parrell

Mr. Parrell is the President, Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Trustees of Equity Residential (NYSE: EQR), a position he has held since January 2019. Mr. Parrell was the Company’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer from October 2007 to September 2018 and Senior Vice President and Treasurer of the Company from August 2005 to October 2007, and served in various roles in the Company’s finance group since September 1999.  Mr. Parrell served as a member of the Board of Directors and the Audit and Investment Committees of Brookdale Senior Living Inc. (NYSE: BKD), a leading operator of senior living communities throughout the United States from April 2015 to July 2017.  He also served as a member of the Board of Directors and the Audit Committee of Aviv REIT, Inc. (NYSE: AVIV), a public REIT that specialized in owning post-acute and long-term care skilled nursing facilities and other healthcare properties from March 2013 until April 2015 when Aviv merged into Omega Healthcare. Mr. Parrell is also active in several business and community service organizations.  He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors and the Audit and Finance Committees of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, as a member of the Ross School Advisory Board for the Ross Business School at the University of Michigan, his alma mater, a member of the Urban Land Institute as well as the Chicago Economic Club.  He serves on the Advisory Board of Governors of Nareit and is a member of the National Multi Housing Council and served as Chair of its Finance Committee in 2015-2016.    

Mr. Parrell holds a B.B.A. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center and is a licensed (inactive) attorney in the State of Illinois.  

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