Laurent Morali and Nicole Meyer have taken over as CEO and president, respectively, of Kushner Cos. — Photo by Robert Byron Jones/Courtesy: Kushner Cos.
By Joshua Burd
Kushner Cos. has a new CEO and president after elevating two of its top executives to the roles.
The commercial real estate firm, which is based in New York but maintains deep ties to New Jersey, said Tuesday that Laurent Morali has taken over as its chief executive. He was previously the company’s president, a role that has been filled by Nicole Meyer, the daughter of chairman and founder Charles Kushner and a member of the organization since 2015.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the moves in a story Tuesday morning, noting that it marks the first time that Kushner Cos. has tapped a nonfamily member to lead the business. The story said the CEO role has been essentially vacant since 2016, when Jared Kushner left the post to join Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and subsequently the Trump administration.
“So much about our company is growth through adversity,” Meyer, Jared’s sister, told the Journal. “We have been putting our heads down and really moving.”
Morali joined Kushner in 2008 and has held several positions, starting with managing director of finance before transitioning to head of acquisitions and capital markets in 2011. The veteran real estate and finance executive was named president in 2016 before being named CEO this month.
For her part, Meyer spearheads deal sourcing, investor relations and execution of real estate development for the firm, according to her bio. She currently oversees a development pipeline of 12.9 million square feet of residential, commercial and industrial space, as well as a strategic national acquisitions expansion comprising thousands of multifamily units across 12 states.
The Wall Street Journal noted that Kushner’s work in recent years has shifted to buying apartments in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast and away from the types of high-profile deals in Manhattan that it pursued under Jared Kushner. Its current focus in New Jersey includes One Journal Square, a massive mixed-use development in Jersey City that would include more than 1,700 apartments, which won final approval from the city’s planning board early this year after a lengthy delay and legal battle.
The firm also owns Pier Village in Long Branch and is spearheading the final phase of development at the acclaimed mixed-use project. Located between Ocean Boulevard and the Atlantic Ocean, the site spans 2,000 feet of beachfront property and includes 492 luxury apartments, 245 upscale condominiums and 91 hotel rooms, along with 170,000 square feet of shopping, dining and entertainment space.
Morali, a native of France, has closed several billion dollars’ worth of real estate transactions, from construction and development to acquisitions, financings and recapitalizations, according to his bio. Prior to Kushner, he spent 10 years working at Credit Lyonnais, focusing on complex debt capital market solutions for real estate projects.
He obtained an MBA from Ecole Superieure de Commerce of Toulouse, France.
Meyer joined the firm after 10 years at Ralph Lauren, where she focused on the design and development of retail experiences globally. She holds a degree in architecture and urban design from New York University and a master’s in urban planning from its Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, along with a commercial real estate certificate from Cornell University.
Jared Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump, the former president’s daughter, divested himself of all his family-business management responsibilities and many of his owner stakes in properties when he joined the Trump administration, according to the Wall Street Journal. The story said that, after Trump left the White House, Kushner and Ivanka Trump moved to South Florida, with plans to launch a Miami-based investment firm named Affinity Partners.