Chattanooga, CBL-based mall operator says business is on the rise as it considers exiting bankruptcy on November 1; promotes key personnel
CBL Properties raised several executives on Monday as the Chattanooga-based shopping center company aims to turn the page of its November 1 bankruptcy and open a new chapter.
“There are many well-known people who have been with the company and worked hard over the past year and a half and before,” said Stephen Lebovitz, CEO of CBL, of the promotions.
CBL, owner of Hamilton Place and Northgate shopping malls in Chattanooga and more than 100 centers nationwide, was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020 and filed for bankruptcy last November.
Two people were promoted Monday to executive vice president positions and six to senior vice president positions. In addition, eight new vice-presidents have been appointed.
Lebovitz said in a telephone interview that the company was preparing to come out of bankruptcy on November 1 and put the organization in place so that CBL was “the strongest position to move forward”.
He said all of those named on Monday worked at CBL’s head office, where the company employs around 220 people out of some 500 workers nationwide.
Lebovitz said the mood at CBL is positive.
“I am full of energy,” he said. “It’s a combination of getting closer to November 1 and seeing how business has picked up.”
The CEO of CBL said company officials were seeing a resurgence in its malls in both traffic and sales.
“Retailers are in a stronger position,” he said.
As CBL prepares to emerge from bankruptcy, Lebovitz said the price of its publicly traded shares is being determined in talks with its financial advisers.
He said he expects CBL to revert to a New York Stock Exchange listing at some point. Currently, the company’s shares are traded over-the-counter.
In August, U.S. bankruptcy court judge David R. Jones in Houston upheld the company’s plan to write off more than $ 1.6 billion in debt. Bondholders will receive 89% of the newly reorganized CBL and shareholders 11%.
Of that 11%, existing common and preferred stakeholders must divide equity equally, according to the plan.
Lebovitz said officials were nervous about the emergence of the Delta variant of the coronavirus. But back-to-school purchases have been strong and the most recent figures nationwide were better than expected, he said.
Still, Alexander Goldfarb, senior analyst for Piper Sandler, recently said he expects malls and shopping centers to continue to close.
“Successful centers will remain open,” he said. “What you will see is consolidation.”
Shopping centers require a lot of capital to repair, Goldfarb said.
CBL officials said they plan to bring new uses to its properties and expand the range of what its customers want, like what it has done at Hamilton Place Mall.
“We’re getting more interest from some non-traditional users,” Lebovitz said. For example, he cited the multi-family residential market.
The promotions announced on Monday included:
* Andrew Cobb was promoted to Executive Vice President – Accounting after serving as Senior Vice President and Director – Accounting since February 2015. Cobb joined the organization in June 2002 as Vice President.
* Howard Grody was promoted to Executive Vice President – Leasing after serving as Senior Vice President – Leasing, a position he has held since 2008. Grody joined CBL in 1991 as Director of Leasing and was promoted to Vice President – rental of shopping centers in 2000.
* Rusty Carlton was promoted to Senior Vice President – Accounting after serving as Vice President since February 2016. Carlton joined CBL in 2008 as a Real Estate Accountant specializing in joint venture projects.
* Maggie Carrington was promoted to Senior Vice President – People and Culture after serving as Vice President since 2009. Carrington joined CBL in 1999.
* Jeff Gregerson was promoted to Senior Vice President – Specialty Leasing after serving as Vice President since 2002. Gregerson joined CBL in 1994.
* Eric Griffith was promoted to Senior Vice President – Leasing after serving as Vice President, a position he has held since February 2016. Griffith joined CBL in 2004.
* Mary Lynn Morse was promoted to Senior Vice President – Marketing after serving as Vice President since 2019. Morse joined CBL in 1995.
* David Neuhoff was promoted to Senior Vice President – Redevelopment after serving as Vice President, a position he has held since 2011. Neuhoff joined CBL in 1998.
* Heidi Cardall has been promoted to Vice President – Specialty Leasing after having recently served as Senior Manager. Cardall joined CBL in 1998.
* Lisa Harper has been promoted to Vice President – Specialty Leasing after recently serving as Senior Manager. Harper joined CBL with the acquisition of Richland Mall in Waco, Texas, in 2002.
* Sandy Heymann has been promoted to Vice President – Marketing after having recently served as Senior Director. Heymann joined the CBL team when Fayette Mall in Lexington, Ky., Was acquired in February 2001.
* Lewis Hilton has been promoted to vice president – redevelopment after recently serving as senior manager. Hilton joined CBL as a Leasing Manager in 1999.
* Matt Holligan was promoted to Executive Vice President after serving as Senior Director since 2020. Holligan joined CBL in 2001.
* Allison Houghton has been promoted to Vice President – Accounting after most recently serving as Senior Manager. Houghton joined CBL in 2016 as Director – Accounting.
* Stacey Keating was promoted to Vice President of Corporate Communications after serving as Senior Director since 2019. Keating joined CBL in 2011 as Regional Marketing Specialist at Monroeville Mall and moved to CBL Headquarters in 2015.
* Tripp Wingo has been promoted to Vice President – Accounting. Wingo joined CBL in 2017 as a senior financial reporting analyst and in 2019 was promoted to director.
Contact Mike Pare at [email protected] or 423-757-6318.