CB Commercial Real Estate Group
Specialty: Commercial leasing
Recent Deal: Reorganized local office of the country’s largest commercial real estate brokerage.
Brett White’s credentials do the talking for him: He’s the top man at the most profitable division of the country’s largest commercial real estate brokerage.
Not bad for someone who once set out to work in an entirely different profession.
“I had the intention of going into pre-med,” White said, but “I saw a great opportunity in commercial real estate instead.”
White joined CB Commercial Real Estate Group after graduating UC Santa Barbara as a biology major in 1984. He went from industrial sales and leasing specialist in San Diego, to administering the company’s Mexico operations, to managing the Newport Beach office to his current post as executive managing officer for the greater Los Angeles area.
When he was named to that post in 1994, which carries with it an executive vice president title, White set out to shake up the division’s operations.
The needs of CB Commercial’s customers changed over the years, White said, but the company’s local organization and culture had not. While the 1970s and 1980s saw plenty of buyers and an emphasis on “cowboy” brokers at firms like CB Commercial, clients these days need more post-sale follow-through, White said.
“Over the past two and a half years we’ve been moving from an organization of lone wolves to a real team-based group,” White said.
More than 50 people were either fired or left of their own accord in the transition.
By encouraging more cooperation among employees, White oversaw about $2 billion in deals in 1996. He was named brokerage executive of the year for 1996 by the Los Angeles Business Journal.