Highwoods Properties Inc. recently revealed that Ed Fritsch, 60, will retire as Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors effective September 1, 2019. Ted Klinck, 53, who currently serves as President and Chief Operating Officer, will assume the role of CEO and director upon Fritsch’s retirement.
Fritsch, who first joined Highwoods in 1982 at the age of 23, was a partner in the predecessor firm before its IPO in June 1994. Mr. Fritsch served as the Chief Operating Officer of Highwoods from January 1998 to July 2004 and was Vice President of Operations and Secretary from June 1994 to January 1998. He joined the Board in 2001, became the Company’s President in December 2003 and CEO in July 2004. Mr. Fritsch recently concluded a seven-year term on the executive board of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, including serving as its chair in 2016.
As part of the company’s long-term succession planning activities and upon Fritsch’s recommendation, the Company’s Board of Directors has appointed Mr. Klinck as President, CEO and director effective September 1, 2019. Klinck has served as President since November 2018 and Chief Operating Officer of Highwoods since September 2015. Prior to that, Mr. Klinck served as the Company’s Senior Vice President and Chief Investment Officer. Before joining Highwoods in March 2012, Mr. Klinck served as principal and chief investment officer with Goddard Investment Group, a privately-owned real estate investment firm. Previously, Mr. Klinck had been a managing director at Morgan Stanley Real Estate.
Carlos Evans, the Company’s Chair, stated “Ed has been very thoughtful and purposeful in his succession planning, especially in constructing a deep bench, a built-to-last foundation and a culture of collaboration second to none. He first joined us in 1982 as a 23-year old and it is no coincidence that Highwoods’ growth has tracked Ed’s growth. He’s done virtually every job in the company during his 37-year tenure. Under Ed’s leadership, through the implementation of a well-conceived Strategic Plan, we have built a strong platform, portfolio, balance sheet, corporate culture, brand and team. We thank Ed for his years of dedication and wish him the very best upon his well-earned retirement; and as he initiates this transition, the Board and I are confident Ted and the team are well-positioned to take Highwoods into the future.”
Mr. Fritsch stated “I am forever grateful to the founding partners of Highwoods who gave me the opportunity to join the team just a year out of college. I am also grateful for the opportunity to learn the business and for being a part of this phenomenal team for such an extended period of time. While I will dearly miss all those I have gotten to work with, I now look forward to enjoying retirement. Ted and I have worked closely together since he joined Highwoods in 2012. Him potentially succeeding into my role was an aspect of our recruitment for the Chief Investment Officer position back in 2012. His in-depth transaction experience, real estate intellect, management skills and execution prowess have been instrumental to our track record throughout the past seven years. I step aside after 37 years of service to Highwoods, fully confident the right team and platform are in place for Highwoods continued success.”
Mr. Klinck stated “I am humbled by Ed and the Board’s confidence in giving me the opportunity to follow Ed as leader of Highwoods. The four tenets of our Strategic Plan – owning well-differentiated office assets in the BBDs of our markets, maintaining our strong balance sheet, attracting and retaining a team of professionals second to none and communicating transparently and candidly with our shareholders and business partners – will continue to guide everything we do. I firmly believe we are well-positioned to continue to grow our Company and deliver meaningful and sustained returns over the long-term for our shareholders.”
Effective with these changes, Highwoods also announced Brendan Maiorana, 43, has been promoted to Executive Vice President of Finance and Investor Relations and Brian Leary, 45, will join the Company as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.