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Cushman & Wakefield's Brett White and John Forrester

Cushman & Wakefield’s Brett White and John Forrester

Cushman & Wakefield announced a leadership change and reported a net income of $52.7 million in the second quarter, finally reversing the string of losses that has persisted since the first quarter of 2020.

The positive result was attributed to re-energized brokerage activities, said CEO Brett White during an earnings call late Thursday.

“Our second quarter brokerage revenue, including our leasing and capital markets businesses, was up 89 percent compared to a year ago, and returned to pre-Covid levels in 2019,” White said. “We are very encouraged to see our transactional brokerage business rebounded so quickly in the first half of 2021.”

Adjusted EBITDA in the second quarter was $219.9 million, up 85 percent from a year ago, and up 26 percent from the 2019 level.

In a press release, the firm announced that its global president, John Forrester, will take the reins as CEO as of Jan. 1, 2022. White will continue to serve the company as executive chairman, the title he has held since 2015, and will continue to lead strategy, mergers and acquisitions, and succession planning.

The recovery was especially strong in the investment sales sector, with revenue during the quarter totaling $282.2 million, up 150 percent from a year ago, and up 19.5 percent from the same quarter in 2019.

Revenue from property and project management, which has been steady during the pandemic, was $769.8 million in the second quarter, up 11 percent from a year ago and up 4 percent from 2019.

The leasing sector remains a mixed bag, with industrial leasing performing well but office leasing still struggling. Leasing revenue during the recent quarter was $453.5 million, up 63 percent compared to 2020, but down 7.3 percent from two years ago.

“We emphasize that the near-term fundamentals remain less clear as businesses continue to make their way back to the office and assess space requirements,” White said.

White, however, noted that there have been “some very encouraging green shoots emerging in the office sector,” including a surge in office tour activities, which could lead to new leases later this year or next year.