John Z. Kukral, president and chief executive officer of Northwood Investors, has been an active real estate investor for more than 29 years. He serves as chairman of the investment committee and approves all commitments made by the firm. Over the course of his career, Kukral has been involved in more than $40 billion of real estate transactions worldwide, including office buildings, shopping centers, hotels, and residential property. Kukral started his career at JMB Realty Corporation in 1982. In 1994 he joined Blackstone Real Estate Advisors, where he served as president and CEO from 2002 until his departure in 2005. During his tenure, Blackstone grew to become one of the largest and most successful real estate managers globally. Kukral served as a senior managing director of the Blackstone Group from 1997 through 2005 and was a member of the firm’s executive committee from 2000 through 2005. He founded Northwood in 2006.
Anne Kavanagh is the global head of asset management and transactions for AXA Real Estate, the real estate investment and management business of the AXA Group. AXA Real Estate is the largest real estate portfolio and asset manager in Europe, with $60 billion (€45 billion) of assets under management as of March 2013. It has more than 140 third-party institutional clients around the world, in addition to managing funds for AXA insurance companies. AXA Real Estate employs more than 500 real estate professionals and operates in 22 countries.
Jeff T. Blau is chief executive officer and a general partner of Related Companies, headquartered in New York City, and a ULI trustee. Related was founded in 1972 by current chairman Stephen M. Ross, and today the company includes more than 2,500 professionals. Related has developed over $22 billion in real estate and owns assets valued at more than $15 billion made up of mixed-use, residential, retail, office, trade show, and affordable housing properties in major cities around the world. For the past 23 years, Blau has been responsible for directing and overseeing new developments for Related worth in excess of $20 billion, in virtually every property sector. Recently, he was named to Crain’s New York’s New Influentials list of 25 leaders reshaping New York.
J. Allen Smith is the chief executive officer of Prudential Real Estate Investors (PREI), the real estate investment management and advisory business of Prudential Financial. With over $50.1 billion gross and over $33.8 billion in net assets under management worldwide (as of June 30, 2012), PREI offers a broad range of investment opportunities and investment management services through specialized operating units in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
Stephen J. Furnary is chairman and chief executive officer of Clarion Partners , a real estate investment management firm with a 30-year history. Headquartered in New York, Clarion Partners has $24.2 billion in total assets under management, 250 investors both domestic and international, and 260 employees.