The CRE Finance Council (CREFC) has named Stephen Renna as CEO effective May 1. Renna brings over 22 years of experience in the commercial real estate (CRE) business, holding senior-level positions in legal and policy affairs as well as in trade association management.

Renna as CEO of CRE Finance Council concludes a six-month search process, during which industry veteran John D'Amico served as interim CEO of the organization.

Most recently, Renna was president of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Managers (NAREIM), whose members manage investment capital on behalf of third-party investors in CRE assets. 

Before NAREIM, Renna was senior vice president and counsel for The Real Estate Roundtable, which is a Washington-based national public-policy organization that represents the commercial and multifamily real estate industry.

Under Renna’s helm, the CREFC will continue its efforts to ensure that the market’s CRE recovery gains speed, and that the current rulemaking underway by federal regulators in terms of CRE and CMBS has the intended beneficial consequences that would ensure sound, secure CRE mortgages without limiting the availability of capital to the sector.

“Today’s announcement concludes an exhaustive and thorough search for a chief executive officer of CRE Finance Council and, on behalf of CREFC’s Board of Governors, its Members, Executive Committee and Staff, I am very excited to have Steve on board. Steve is uniquely qualified to lead this association,” said Lisa Pendergast, president of CRE Finance Council. “CREFC is the leading voice in commercial real estate finance and we believe Steve’s extensive experience with major real estate associations, such as NAREIM, The Real Estate Roundtable, and the National Association of Realtors – combined with his vast experience on Capitol Hill – make him the perfect fit to lead CREFC and address the key issues facing the industry.” 

“I’m excited and honored to be named the CEO of CRE Finance Council,” Renna said. “Commercial real estate finance is crucial to the healthy function of the broader commercial real estate markets and to the larger economy, and CREFC is ideally suited to provide the real estate finance community with an inclusive platform for sharing information, developing market standards, and giving clarity of voice to lawmakers. I look forward to working with the CRE Finance Council’s members and its highly professional staff to achieve the healthiest and most transparent industry possible.”

In another trade group people move, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) promoted Jim Gross to vice president of financial accounting and public policy. In this capacity, he will advise Steve O'Connor, MBA's senior vice president of public policy and industry relations on emerging industry policy issues and assist in setting strategic priorities.

After being promoted, Gross will continue to be responsible for managing the development and implementation of MBA's strategy on legislative, regulatory, and industry issues in financial accounting, tax policy, and bank regulations. He will also coordinate with MBA's commercial/multifamily division on cross-cutting accounting and bank regulatory issues. 

Gross joined the MBA in 2008 from NetBank where he was chief financial officer. He has 10 years of "Big Four" accounting experience, including functioning as a mortgage banking specialist for Deloitte. His background also includes former CFO positions at New America Mortgage, IndyMac, and J.I. Kislak Mortgage.

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