RECM Conference 2020

Featured Speakers

Steve Schwarzman
Stephen A. Schwarzman
Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder, Blackstone

Stephen A. Schwarzman is Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone, a leading global investment firm with $545 billion in AUM and businesses in private equity, real estate, hedge funds, credit, infrastructure and life sciences.

In both business and philanthropy, he dedicates himself to tackling big problems with transformative solutions. His major gifts have helped establish a new center at the University of Oxford to redefine the study of the humanities for the 21st century, create a new college at MIT dedicated to the study of artificial intelligence, build a first-of-its-kind student center at Yale, renovate and expand the New York Public Library, and found an international fellowship program, Schwarzman Scholars, at Tsinghua University in Beijing to educate future leaders about China.

Mr. Schwarzman is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Business Roundtable, and International Business Council of the WEF. He was named one of TIME’s “100 Most Influential People,” topped Forbes’ list of the most influential people in finance (2016), and ranked on Forbes’ Top 50 “World’s Most Powerful People” (2018). His honors include the Légion d'Honneur and Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from France, and Order of the Aztec Eagle from Mexico.

Mr. Schwarzman is the author of What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence, a book that uses stories from his 50-year career in business to show readers how to make an impact as a leader, learn and adapt from failures, build thriving teams, and generally achieve success in both work and life.

Owen Thomas
Owen D. Thomas
Chief Executive Officer, Boston Properties

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, while living in Hong Kong from 2008 until 2011. He also held the role 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 Urban Land Institute, a Director of the Urban Land Institute Foundation, an Officer and member of the Executive Board of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts and a Director of the Real Estate Roundtable. He is a former Director of the University of Virginia Investment Management Company and a former Chairman of the Pension Real Estate Association. 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. 


Keith Breslauer
Keith M. Breslauer
Managing Director & Senior Partner, Patron Capital Advisers LLP

Mr. Breslauer founded Patron Capital in 1999 and is the Managing Director of Patron Capital Advisers LLP (and held a similar position in its predecessor vehicles), the investment adviser to the Patron Capital Funds representing over €4 billion in capital (including Patron Capital Captive Fund, Funds I - VI). To date, Patron has undertaken more than 170 transactions across 80 investments or programs, involving over 65 million square feet of assets in 16 countries.

Mr. Breslauer began his career in 1988 at Lehman Brothers, where he worked originally in the Financial Institutions Group in partnership with the Mortgage Trading Group. In addition to various responsibilities related to corporate finance and capital markets, he was involved in and led many transactions in the United States distressed markets of the 1980s and 1990s. In 1993, while with Lehman Brothers, Mr. Breslauer moved to London to target distressed assets in Europe and to assist in the creation and leadership of the Principal Finance Group. In 1997, Mr. Breslauer left Lehman Brothers to create and manage an investment fund focusing on smaller European property opportunities as a bridge to the ultimate formation of Patron.

Mr. Breslauer is committed to giving back to society and makes significant positive efforts to improve the lives of others. He has established the Patron Charitable Initiatives to enable every element of both Patron’s and his own resources to be utilised for charitable good including acting as Chairman of the Prince’s Teaching Institute (Prince’s Trust), Trustee and lead supporter for the Royal Marines Charity, member of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity Investment Committee,  Advisory Committee Member for the Social Enterprise Initiative of Chicago Booth (University of Chicago), and with his wife, Senior Patron to many other charities.

He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree from the New York University School of Business. Mr. Breslauer has resided in London for the past twenty-six years with his wife and four children (two at Columbia College) and is a citizen of the United States. He is a keen alpinist and skier.

Jackie Brady
Jacqueline (Jackie) Brady
Executive Director and Business Development, PGIM Real Estate

Jacqueline Brady (Jackie) is an executive director at PGIM Real Estate and a member of the U.S. Business Development group. Based in New York, she is responsible for marketing PGIM Real Estate’s global products and providing client service to institutional investors and consultants, and will help PGIM Real Estate to broaden its client coverage of insurance companies and high net worth investors.

Jackie joins PGIM Real Estate with more than two decades of experience in the real estate debt capital markets, having served as a principal and portfolio manager at Canopy Investment Advisors and Capmark Investments, LP.  

Most recently, Jackie was a senior leader at CenterSquare Investment Management where she was responsible for enhancing and developing CenterSquare’s relationships with institutional clients and consultants. Jackie currently Chairs the PREA Publications Committee.

Jackie has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Haverford College and serves on the Investment Committee of the Board of Managers of the College. She also has a master’s degree in international relations and international economics from the Johns Hopkins University.

Marc Ricks
Marc Ricks
Head of Corporate Development, Sidewalk Labs

Marc Ricks is Head of Corporate Development at Sidewalk Labs, where his primary role is to help define and execute on the commercial strategy that will enable the company’s innovation agenda to achieve the greatest possible impact on urban life around the world.

Marc’s career spans the public and private sectors. He served as senior policy advisor and chief of staff to New York City’s Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding, where he played an active role in major projects such as the rebirth of the High Line and the transformation of the Far West Side of Manhattan into a modern commercial district known as Hudson Yards. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, he returned temporarily to government service to help create a landmark plan to protect New York City from the impacts of extreme weather events and climate change.

In the private sector, Marc has advanced major public-private real estate and infrastructure projects. This includes the expansion of New York Penn Station into the former Farley Post Office, as part of the development team at Vornado Realty Trust, one of New York’s largest commercial property owners. He also led transportation and energy investments as a member of the Infrastructure Investment Group at Goldman, Sachs. He has worked in commercial strategy for Bloomberg LP’s web-based businesses, and as a consultant at McKinsey & Company.

Marc is active in the civic life of New York, most notably as Chair of the Friends of Governors Island. He lives with his wife and three children in Larchmont, New York, where he often can be found equivocating on the trade-offs between urban and suburban life.

Co-Chairs and Planning Committee Members

John M. Ferguson
Partner and Co-Chair of the Real Estate Private Investment Funds Practice, Goodwin

John Ferguson, a partner in the firm’s Business Law Department, is the co-chair of its Real Estate Investment Funds Group. Mr. Ferguson represents a wide range of clients in forming private investment funds, partnerships, joint ventures and other transaction structures, and in acquisition, financing, restructuring and disposition transactions.

Mr. Ferguson’s experience in the private investment fund area includes real estate, infrastructure, debt and credit, asset-backed securities, private equity and hedge funds and funds-of-funds. His experience focuses on establishing commingled funds, clubs and investment programs, joint ventures and separate accounts, organizing fund sponsor and manager entities, and advising fund managers with respect to employee compensation structures. This work includes US and international securities offerings, tax and regulatory-related structuring, and investment manager M&A transactions.

Mr. Ferguson’s experience within the real estate industry is extensive and multi-faceted, and includes for example the representation of: a global wealth management firm in the structuring and implementation of a several billion dollar domestic and international real estate investment program; financial and operating parties in both the formation and unwinding of joint venture transactions; portfolio and single asset acquisitions, financings (equity and secured, unsecured, and mezzanine debt) and dispositions; a NYSE-listed upREIT in a going-private transaction and a related exchange offer to its operating partnership unitholders; and investment funds as borrowers under subscription-secured credit facilities.

Mr. Ferguson earned his J.D. from the Emory University School of Law, 1998 and his B.S. from Boston University.

Chris Mayer
Christopher J. Mayer
Paul Milstein Professor of Real Estate; Professor of Finance Co-Director, Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate, Columbia Business School

Christopher Mayer’s research explores a variety of topics in real estate and financial markets, including housing cycles, mortgage markets, debt securitization, and commercial real estate valuation. Professor Mayer is also CEO of Longbridge Financial, an innovative reverse mortgage company focused on delivering responsible home equity products to older Americans to help finance retirement. Mayer serves as a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a director of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, and a member of the Academic Advisory Boards for Standard and Poor's and the Housing Policy Center at the Urban Institute.

Mayer is active in the media and advising policymakers, testifying six times before committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, writing a paper for the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, and authoring numerous op-ed articles in major publications. He previously served as senior vice dean at Columbia Business School and held positions at the Wharton School, the University of Michigan, Harvard Business School, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. He earned a BS in Math and Economics from the University of Rochester with highest honors and a PhD in Economics from MIT.

Mark Opper
Mark Opper
Partner, Goodwin

Mark Opper is a partner in the Business Law Department at Goodwin and a member of the firm’s nationally recognized Real Estate Industry group and REITs and Real Estate M&A practice. He also participates in the firm’s Capital Markets, Public M&A/Corporate Governance and Private Investment Funds practices.

Mr. Opper has extensive transactional experience advising public and private companies in mergers and acquisitions and securities offerings, including IPOs and follow-on and 144A offerings, with a particular focus on REITs and real estate operating companies. He also regularly advises public companies on corporate governance matters and private real estate investment funds in connection with the fund formation process and ongoing governance and management matters.

Mr. Opper earned his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and his B.A. from Georgetown University.

David Sherman
David M. Sherman '82
Senior Advisor and Co-Founder, Metropolitan Real Estate Co-Director, Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate, Columbia Business School

David Sherman is senior advisor and chairman of the Investment Committee at Metropolitan, a real estate investment management company that he co-founded in 2002. Sherman has more than 30 years of real estate investment, finance and analytical experience. In 2000, Mr. Sherman founded D. Sherman & Company, Inc., an advisory firm focused on strategic issues and transactions in the real estate securities industry.

Previously, Sherman was managing director of Salomon Smith Barney’s REIT research team, which covered more than 60 stocks and supported the firm’s $15 billion of REIT offering activity. At Smith Barney, Mr. Sherman created a new approach to evaluate global real estate securities and initiated global coverage of the sector. Sherman also held other positions in real estate finance, investment banking, and strategic planning at Smith Barney, The Harlan Company, First Boston, and Paine Webber, including acting as the Chief Financial Officer of Paine Webber Properties, a family of real estate funds with over $500 million in property investments.

For seven years, Sherman was an adjunct professor of Real Estate Finance at Columbia Business School. He is also the former chairman of the Pension Real Estate Association (PREA) Institute Committee. He received an A.B. in Mathematical Economics (magna cum laude) from Brown University and an M.B.A. in Finance from Columbia Business School.