George Yungmann, senior vice president of financial standards at Nareit, passed away on May 16 after a battle with cancer.
Yungmann began a second career at Nareit in 1999 after retiring from The Rouse Company as controller and chief accounting officer. Chief among Yungmann’s professional accomplishments while at Nareit was his work on a 2002 white paper (pdf) further defining funds from operations (FFO) and why it was an appropriate and important supplemental method of evaluating REIT performance in addition to net income. Yungmann remained Nareit’s point person on FFO as accounting guidance changed and helped to interpret it over the course of several decades. He also helped author Nareit’s EBITDAre (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization for real estate) white paper, represented the real estate industry on the joint Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) international working group for leases, and served as a member of the European Public Real Estate Association’s (EPRA) Reporting and Accounting Committee.
“George was an invaluable representative and highly effective advocate for the REIT community for more than two decades, and I am just as thankful for his warmth and friendship over so many years as well,” said Steve Wechsler, Nareit president and CEO. “I extend Nareit’s sincere condolences and sympathies to George’s family.”
Yungmann was an advocate for, and an educator of, meaningful disclosure when the FASB and the IASB began working together in the early 2000s to improve and converge U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). He regularly attended in-person FASB meetings in Connecticut and IASB meetings in London, often bringing with him Nareit executives and buy-side analysts when necessary. His relationships with FASB and IASB members and staff have been a key piece of the overall partnership that Nareit and its counterparts in the Real Estate Equity Securitization Alliance (REESA) have been able to accomplish with these organizations over many years.
“You have to be at the table, and George started that,” said Tony Edwards, Nareit senior executive vice president. “That changed how accounting standards globally impact the real estate industry.”
Yungmann excelled at translating dense accounting language from the FASB and other organizations and clearly communicating their rules to Nareit members. He was a leader and mentor to his Policy & Public Affairs colleagues at Nareit, who noted that they enjoyed his warmth, humor, and collegiality.
“George had a profound impact on financial reporting for the real estate industry,” said Christopher Drula, Nareit senior vice president of financial standards. “He was a great mentor and friend. His outgoing personality will be sorely missed.”
Over the course of his career, Yungmann volunteered much of his time, and was active with organizations including the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the National Association of Real Estate Companies (NAREC) as chair of their accounting committee. He was also responsible for the programming of the accounting and financial standards track at Nareit’s REITwise conference for more than 20 years.