Former REIT CEO Advises Management Teams to Build Trust with Their Boards

Walter Rakowich, former CEO of ProLogis (NYSE: PLD), participated in a video interview at Nareit’s REITwise: 2019 Law, Accounting & Finance Conference in San Antonio.

As a former REIT CEO and a current board director at Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: HST), Iron Mountain Inc. (NYSE: IRM), and Ventas, Inc. (NYSE: VTR), Rakowich said the best advice he can give REIT management teams is to build trust with their boards through transparency.

“I talk about transparency from the perspective of communication…integrity, [and] respect,” he said.

He added that a company’s board should be “very active” in company strategy and enterprise risk management.

“Typically, most boards will have one retreat where they’ll walk away and talk about strategy,” he said. “But the fact of the matter is everything you talk about in every board meeting has something to do with strategy and risk.”

Rakowich said that board turnover can be an opportunity for positive change, but that continuity is also “critically important.”

“I think the best boards…keep certain members on for a long period of time that can create continuity, and yet they refresh the board and bring some new perspective on the board [too],” he said.