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Michelle MacKay named CEO at Cushman & Wakefield as corporate succession plans unfold

Photo of Michelle MacKay
On July 1, Michelle MacKay will take the reins as CEO at Cushman & Wakefield. (File Photos/
Michelle MacKay takes reins July 1 as John Forrester announces retirement
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

The Cushman & Wakefield Board of Directors has accepted John Forrester’s intent to retire from his position as chief executive officer spurring the company’s succession plan to install Michelle MacKay as CEO.

Ms. Mackay will continue in her role as president and chief operating officer taking over chief executive duties July 1, according to a press release.

Officials close to the matter say Mr. Forrester will remain employed as a strategic advisor until Dec. 31. In addition, Ms. MacKay was elected to serve on the Board of Directors, effective July 1. Brett White will remain as executive chairman of the board.

Also, Andrew McDonald has been appointed by the board to an expanded role of global president and chief operating officer overseeing all the firm’s service lines and regions, the release states.

“I’m looking forward to leading this great firm through its next chapter of strategic growth,” Ms. Mackay said in a prepared statement.

“Cushman & Wakefield’s unique entrepreneurial culture and employee expertise position us to not only successfully navigate the current challenges in commercial real estate services, but to also deliver long-term value, profitability and growth. I look forward to partnering with Andrew and collaborating with our teams around the world to amplify our positive impact for clients, shareholders and the cities and communities in which we operate.”

Mr. White, chairman of the board, lauded the professional efforts of Mr. Forrester.

“On behalf of Cushman & Wakefield’s Board of Directors, I thank John for his dedication and service to the firm and to the commercial real estate services industry over his long and distinguished career. John is a revered industry leader known for his integrity, work ethic and deep client knowledge. His tremendous efforts over the past several years have strengthened the firm’s foundation and culture and the board is sincerely grateful for his contribution.”

Michelle MacKay takes reins July 1 as John Forrester announces retirement

Mr. Forrester says he found his time at the pinnacle of Cushman & Wakefield was an honor and privilege.

“It has been an honor to lead Cushman & Wakefield as CEO through its post-Covid transitionary period, which underscored the firm’s industry leadership, our core values and strengths and culminated in record company revenue and EBITDA in 2022,” he said. “I am proud of our great company and what our Cushman & Wakefield colleagues around the world have accomplished. I have great confidence in Michelle as a proven leader who will offer the firm exceptional vision, strategy and direction for achieving its performance and growth goals.”

Ms. MacKay joined Cushman & Wakefield as a member of its board of directors in 2018.

Based on the firm’s strategic goals and her related expertise, she was appointed to the position of COO in 2020 and promoted to president and COO on Jan. 1, 2022, with direct operational and management oversight of many of the firm’s service lines and regions, including the EMEA region, Global Occupier Services and C&W Services.

A seasoned commercial real estate executive with more than 30 years of experience at a variety of public and privately held companies, Ms. MacKay has served on three public company boards, including Cushman & Wakefield’s from 2018 to 2020, and is renowned for unlocking value for real estate assets and companies.

“The board is pleased that Michelle MacKay will succeed John as CEO. Michelle has an impressive track record of creating substantial value for shareholders and clients through her deep expertise in commercial real estate and corporate strategy,” Mr. White said.

“In their new roles, the combination of Michelle and Andrew – who also has played a pivotal role in the firm’s profitability, growth and development of new strategic opportunities – creates a formidable leadership team that is uniquely qualified to steer evolution within the commercial real estate services industry. We are confident that their leadership will significantly advance the firm’s operational excellence and ability to deliver long-term growth.”

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