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City hires new real estate manager

Cushman & Wakefield executive Cybele Thompson has been named to head the city of San Diego's real estate assets department, which has been under interim leadership since Mayor Kevin Faulconer dismissed former Director Jim Barwick in March.

Thompson, a 25-year veteran of the commercial real estate industry in Southern California, has for the past seven years headed the client solutions department at C&W regional headquarters in Los Angeles, where she oversaw the development, operations and leasing of distressed assets for the firm's clients, including a number of Fortune 500 companies.

"Her clients have reinforced her reputation for maximizing asset value and minimizing risk for property owners and lenders," said Ronald Villa, deputy chief operating officer of San Diego's internal operations, who oversees the real estate assets department and other functions.

Thompson is also a former president of the Building Owners and Managers Association of California as well as former president of the association's San Diego chapter.

She will take office on Sept. 22, replacing Kristi Geitz, who has served as interim director since Barwick's dismissal. Barwick, who had headed the department since 2006, was ousted together with two lower-ranking officials shortly after Faulconer was elected.

Although Faulconer gave no reason for his action at the time, the shakeup came as the Huron Consulting Group, under a contract to review City Hall practices, issued a report criticizing the department for "inefficient management and development" of the city's real estate portfolio, including failure to communicate with other departments and flaws in tracking real estate assets.

"More effective oversight of the department … could help the city manage its real estate portfolio more efficiently," the report said.

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