Incoming Kimco CEO Highlights Importance of Tenant Relationships

12/8/2015 | By Sarah Borchersen-Keto

Conor Flynn, president and chief operating officer at Kimco Realty Corp. (NYSE: KIM), joined REIT.com for a video interview at REITWorld 2015: NAREIT’s Annual Convention for All Things REIT at the Wynn Las Vegas.

Flynn will succeed David Henry as CEO of Kimco beginning on Jan. 1. Flynn said Henry has prepared him well for the transition.

“Dave laid it out pretty clearly: Don’t lose touch with the fundamentals, the retailer interaction, because that’s the lifeblood of the business,” he said. “I’ve taken that to heart to be sure that I never lose touch with what drives our business.”

Flynn described how Kimco has transformed its portfolio to concentrate on major metropolitan markets.

“We’ve looked at the embedded growth of the portfolio and how to position ourselves going forward,” he said. The company is now in a position to unlock a lot of the value embedded in its real estate, according to Flynn.

“It’s all about executing on that redevelopment pipeline that we’ve done a lot of work to identify,” he said.

Flynn also discussed the importance of Kimco’s efforts to encourage the success of both new entrepreneurs as well as its own employees.

“It’s all about people” and motivating them to outperform, Flynn said.

The Kimco Entrepreneurs Year Start (KEYS) program places qualified applicants into Kimco shopping centers with one year of free rent and additional benefits. If the entrepreneurs are successful, they have an option to become long-term tenants in the centers. Flynn said the program has been particularly successful in California. It is now being rolled out nationwide.

Another Kimco program, Leaders Advancing Business Solutions (LABS), encourages Kimco employees to “think outside the box,” according to Flynn. The objective is for them to come up with new ideas about what the company should be funding or looking into, Flynn said.

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