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  • Writer's pictureAndre Watson

CBRE Awards CEO Special Grant Pushing Pay to $25.9 Million

Brokerage Lists Highest-Paid Executives From 2022

CBRE's CEO and president Bob Sulentic earned more than $25.9 million in total compensation last year. (CBRE)

CBRE CEO Bob Sulentic earned more than $25.9 million in total compensation last year as part of a pay package recognizing what the world's largest commercial real estate brokerage called "solid financial performance" even as long-term interest rates more than doubled and a credit crunch hobbled investment activity.

About 95% of Sulentic's package is tied to financial and strategic performance measures, as well as total stockholder return, the company said. His total package topped the $13.9 million he was awarded in 2021.

Part of the jump was attributed to what the company calls a one-time strategic award with a grant value of $7.5 million, according to CBRE's 2023 proxy statement it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday. In taking this award, Sulentic agreed to stay on through Dec. 31, 2026.

Sulentic has been president and CEO of CBRE for the past decade and last year he oversaw a tough operating environment, which led to the firm cutting about $400 million in costs.

The real estate services firm's second-highest-paid employee for 2022 was Michael Lafitte, who served as global group president of Dallas-based CBRE's client care business and CEO of Trammell Crow Co., CBRE's development arm. Lafitte was paid nearly $6 million in 2022, according to the proxy. Lafitte left the company in February to pursue other opportunities after more than 25 years as a top executive at the firm.

Daniel Queenan, who is serving as CEO of CBRE's real estate investments group, was the third highest-paid employee at the firm with a total compensation in 2022 of about $5.90 million.

John Durburg, who is chief executive of the firm's advisory services business, ranks as the fourth highest-paid executive at CBRE with a total compensation package of about $5.8 million in 2022.

Meanwhile, Chandra Dhandapani, CEO of the global workplace solutions business, earned total compensation of about $5 million in 2022, less than the $5.7 million she earned in 2021, according to the proxy. Dhandapani was CBRE's fifth highest-paid named executive officer in 2022.

CBRE Chief Financial Officer Emma Giamartino was CBRE's sixth highest-paid executive officer in 2022 with total compensation of nearly $3.5 million. Giamartino's total compensation in 2021 was more than $5.8 million.

Pay Ratio

Proxy statements typically provide the most transparent information about a publicly traded company's named executive officers, or top-paid employees. They also contain interesting information such as the CEO pay ratio, which compares the total compensation of a company's top executive to the median employee pay.

In all, Sulentic's pay of more than $25.9 million to the median employee pay of $71,748 in 2022 was a 361-to-one ratio, according to the proxy. If the one-time strategic award of $7.5 million was removed from his total compensation last year, his annual pay of more than $18.4 million would have a 257-to-one ratio.

CBRE's proxy filing this week also disclosed an employment relationship involving Sulentic. Bradley Benjamin, a vice president in CBRE's capital markets retail practice in Dallas, is Sulentic's son-in-law. Benjamin earned $153,322 in commissions and benefits in 2022, according to the proxy.

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