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CBRE CEO shares more details on headquarters move to Dallas: 'It just made sense'

The real estate giant is the latest Fortune 500 company to relocate to North Texas.
Credit: Jake Dean / Dallas Business Journal
Bob Sulentic, president, and CEO of CBRE.

Despite relocating its headquarters from California to Dallas, CBRE says the move is more of a formality than a massive surge of new jobs and people.

Dallas is already home to the largest U.S.-based workforce for CBRE Group Inc. (NYSE: CBRE), which has been growing locally since 2006 when the company acquired Dallas-based Trammell Crow Co. for $2.2 billion. Before news of the headquarters move broke Wednesday, many of CBRE's top executives were already based here, including at least partially, President and CEO Bob Sulentic.

Before COVID-19 hit, Sulentic was on the road between 40 and 45 weeks out of the year, frequently commuting between Dallas and CBRE's previous headquarters, Los Angeles. Now that he's adapted to remote working, he expects that number to drop by half.

"I've learned that I can do a much more effective job remotely than I used to think I could do," he said during an interview with the Business Journal Thursday.

Talks of a headquarters move started to pick up earlier this year after another company executive decided to call Dallas home base.

"Earlier this year, we just decided that with so many people here and with our new CFO, Leah Stearns, being located here — our CFO hadn't been here previously — we just decided that it was time to declare Dallas as our headquarters," Sulentic said. 

"We're not moving people as a result of this out of California and into Texas, but it will be our formal headquarters now. It's a really big and important market for us, as is LA, as is California, but this is where most of our leaders are. It just made sense to declare Dallas as our headquarters. We know we're going to grow a ton here and we've already been growing here."

Company growth, organic and otherwise

CBRE's employee count in North Texas has grown dramatically since 2012, rising 67 percent from 1,890 employees to about 3,150. Other business sectors like leasing volume, investment sales volume, and square feet under development also saw double- to triple-digit percent increases over the same period.

Besides organic growth, CBRE has been part of a number of mergers and acquisitions throughout the years. With rumors swirling that Cushman & Wakefield may be looking to sell, Sulentic says his company is always in the market for another acquisition.

"We consider M&A a core competency of our company. The reason we have so much critical mass here in Dallas is because CBRE acquired Trammell Crow Company in 2006. Since then, we've done other major acquisitions and we have an extremely strong balance sheet with lots of, as they say, dry powder," said Sulentic. 

"It's times like this in the market cycle when opportunities tend to come up. We definitely are interested in expanding our business, both organically and through M&A, and we have the capability and the capacity to do M&A. We are looking for those opportunities all the time."

To read more about CBRE’s historic relocation, see this story.

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