Mall Owner Macerich Says CEO Coppola to Step Down at End of 2018

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(Bloomberg)—Macerich Co.’s chief executive officer and chairman, Arthur Coppola, will retire from the U.S. mall owner at the end of the year, the company said Thursday.

Coppola joined Macerich as a founding partner in 1976 and has led the company since 1993, according to a statement. Macerich has started looking for a replacement CEO and named Steven Hash, an independent member of the board since 2015, as chairman as of the upcoming annual meeting.

“For over four decades, Macerich has achieved a creative dominance in the market and been a leader in sustainability,” Coppola said in the statement. “It’s been a privilege to serve as CEO of this amazing company and its predecessor for 30 years,” he added.

Macerich shares, though closing down 0.9 percent to $57.55 Thursday, partly recovered from a 2.9 percent fall earlier in the day. The shares have fallen 12.4 percent this year, giving the company a market value of $8.1 billion.

Starboard Value, the activist fund run by Jeff Smith, has built a position in Macerich and nominated a majority slate of directors to its board, a person familiar with the matter said this month.

Another activist fund, Dan Loeb’s Third Point, disclosed a stake in Macerich in November.

Mall owners including Macerich are trying to stay relevant as brick-and-mortar retailers shut stores at a record pace, buffeted by the rise of Inc. and other online competitors.

Last month, U.S. mall operator GGP Inc. agreed to be acquired by a unit of Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management Inc. in a deal valued at about $15 billion. Brookfield has said it plans to unlock the value of the land GGP’s malls are built on and redevelop them with its expertise in multifamily residences, offices and hotels.

Macerich owns 48 regional shopping centers across the U.S., according to its website.

Its holdings encompass some of the country’s top malls, including Santa Monica Place, with high-end shops such as Tiffany’s and Louis Vuitton just blocks from the beach, and Tysons Corner Center, a 1.97 million square-foot retail mecca in Virginia.

–With assistance from Scott Deveau and Sarah Mulholland. To contact the reporter on this story: Ed Hammond in New York at [email protected] To contact the editors responsible for this story: Elizabeth Fournier at [email protected] Michael Hytha

© 2018 Bloomberg L.P

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