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Ruth

Robert Ruth

Tooley & Co.

Firm: Age: 37

Specialty: Office/industrial/retail development, management and leasing

Recent deal: Assumed management of Century Plaza Towers following the $480 million sale of the building in April.

Relationships that’s the secret of success, says Robert Ruth, a principal with Tooley & Co. for the past 15 years.

He is not talking about buddy-buddy relationships, but the kind that lead to what has been called Los Angeles’ “deal of the decade” the April sale of the Century Plaza Towers to a group headed by J.P. Morgan & Co., which contracted with Tooley to manage it.

“The key to the future of our business is based on relationships understanding how to compliment what we do with real estate with what a company like J.P. Morgan does with its finger on the Wall Street pulse,” Ruth said.

Tooley handles the development, management and leasing of over 20 million square feet of high rise, industrial and retail projects, mostly in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Francisco.

While Ruth’s title hasn’t changed since he started (his father is the company president and a co-founder) his responsibilities have, growing from handling the nuts and bolts of property management and leasing to his current role which he says is his real strength of looking at the big picture.

“I don’t deal with day-to-day management but I lead the process, which means keeping ahead of the real estate cycles and looking at what’s going on with tenants,” he said.

Among the challenges today, he said, is adapting to a changing L.A. business world where office staffs are smaller, work more flexible hours and dress more casually, he said.

“These things mean fundamental changes in how we manage, like changes in food services for different hours and heating and ventilation and air conditioning” he said.

Coming from a real estate family (his mother owns Ruth Realty in Palos Verdes) Ruth grew up with an interest in the field.

While studying business as a USC undergraduate, he ran his own residential construction company and decided to pursue the family line of business when he graduated.

Wade Daniels

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