The Commercial Real Estate Finance Council tapped Lisa Pendergast, a respected industry veteran, as its executive director.

Pendergast was previously a managing director and head of CMBS strategy and risk at Jefferies Group and has served on the CREFC’s Board of Governors for over nine years.

Her appointment comes six months after the trade group ousted its former leadership, chief executive and president Stephen Renna and executive vice president Stacy Stathopoulos, in late March. It follows the hire of Michael Flood, a lobbyist, for the number two position in April.

The search was run by executive recruiter Ferguson Partners, which vetted some 35 senior-level professionals, including people with trade association experience, real estate lenders, investors, special servicers, attorneys, accountants and some with experience at government-sponsored enterprises, among others.

Pendergast has 25 years of experience in structured finance markets.  Prior to working at Jefferies, she a managing director in the fixed-income strategies group at the Royal Bank of Scotland.  She is also is a past president of CREFC, having served in 2010-2011. 

“Lisa Pendergast is highly qualified and universally respected in our industry, making her the ideal choice to lead the commercial real estate finance industry’s principal association as the market continues to evolve, mature and grow,” Greg Michaud, managing director and head of real estate finance for Voya Investment Management, and chairman of CREFC’s Board of Governors, said in press release published Friday.

“Enthusiasm for Lisa is strong,” Michaud said in the press release. “She is one of us and will well-represent the interests of the industry at the national policy level and relative to industry support and market making for commercial real estate debt products going forward.”

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