NEW YORK General Growth Properties Inc (GGP.N) is close to reaching a final agreement with Sandeep Mathrani, Vornado Realty Trust (VNO.N) vice president, to become the No. 2 U.S. mall owner's new chief executive officer once it emerges from bankruptcy next month, a source familiar with the situation said.
The incoming board of the No. 2 U.S. mall owner met on Friday and has reached an agreement in principal with Mathrani, said the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. Final negotiations are ongoing.
"It's pretty much a done deal," the source said.
An official announcement could come as early as the middle of this week, the source said.
Although chiefly an owner of office buildings, Vornado has 164 retail properties totaling 22.7 million square feet overseen by Mathrani. Of those properties, 14 are malls, including Kings Plaza Shopping Center in Brooklyn New York; Monmouth Mall in Eatontown, New Jersey; and The Cannery in San Francisco. Much of Vornado's retail properties consist of smaller shopping centers throughout the country as well as street-level stores located in office buildings in Manhattan.
Mathrani joined Vornado in 2002 following eight years at Forest City Ratner, where he was executive vice president of retail development and leasing in the New York metropolitan area.
Calls to a Vornado representative and Mathrani were not immediately returned on Sunday. A spokesman for General Growth declined comment.
The company also has a strong number two candidate, Daniel Hurwitz, president and CEO of Developers Diversified Realty Corp (DDR.N), the source said. Calls seeking comment from Developers Diversified and Hurwitz were not immediately returned.
General Growth is set to exit bankruptcy around November 8 with a new board of directors, which will include its new CEO. It will emerge as two companies, one which will house 185 retail properties most of which are malls. The other, the Howard Hughes Corp, will be comprised of its master-planned residential community business, as well as its development and other non-income producing properties.
(Editing by Bernard Orr)