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Sunday, Aug 14, 2022


For OC’s larger public companies, Chairman is the new CEO, it appears.

At Foothill Ranch mortgage lender loanDepot (NYSE: LDI), founder Anthony Hsieh last week gave up the CEO role and took on the executive chairman position, with former CoreLogic head Frank Martell taking over the president and chief executive roles.

“Adding a transformative chief executive of his caliber will allow us to efficiently focus on our North Star: serving customers the way they wish to be served across the entirety of their homeownership experience,” said Hsieh, who is the largest individual shareholder of the nearly $1 billion-valued lender. “The team and I are energized by this announcement.”

Martell in January had himself moved to the non-executive chairman role at Irvine’s CoreLogic, after the real estate and mortgage data and analytics company went private following a $6 billion buyout last year, with Pat Dodd taking over the president and CEO roles.

Similar changes have taken place this year at First American Financial (NYSE: FAF), where Dennis Gilmore, CEO at the $6.5 billion-valued title insurance giant since 2010, transitioned to the chairman role in January. His prior position was taken over by Kenneth DeGiorgio.

Likewise, Advantage Solutions (Nasdaq: ADV) in March announced Tanya Domier would transition to executive chair, with Jill Griffin becoming the $1.7 billion-valued Irvine marketing firm’s third-ever CEO. The company was founded in 1987.­­­

And last year, FivePoint founder Emile Haddad moved into the chairman emeritus role; the CEO spot at the master developer (NYSE: FPH) was taken over by former Irvine Co. exec Dan Hedigan in March.

Last week’s exec change announcement from loanDepot noted, among other accomplishments, that Martell in 2014 was named the Outstanding CFO of a Public Company by the Business Journal, at our annual CFO of the Year Awards event.

The 2022 edition of the CFO Awards takes place May 5 at the Irvine Marriott. Over 650 people are expected to attend the evening event, which sees the return of RLH Equity Partners Managing Director Murray Rudin as master of ceremonies.

On May 26, the 21st edition of our Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards takes place, also at Irvine Marriott. FivePoint’s Haddad—a 2021 EIE Award winner—is the keynote speaker for the lunchtime event.

Grocery stores are behind four of the six top retail leases in OC this year, according to brokerage data; see the front page for more on the bevy of niche grocers expanding into new markets in the county.

The largest reported local retail lease was made official late last week.

Bass Pro Shops, which bills itself as “America’s most popular outdoor retailer,” confirmed plans for a new 140,000-square-foot spot at Irvine Co.’s Alton Marketplace.

The superstore is taking over a Walmart spot at the center, on the opposite side of the 5 freeway as the Irvine Spectrum Center. The nearest Bass Pro Shops around here is in Rancho Cucamonga.

“Adding America’s top outdoor brand will be a major draw to this premier location,” said Ken Gillet, senior VP of Irvine Company Retail Properties.

Mark Mueller
Mark Mueller
Mark is the Editor-in-Chief of the Orange County Business Journal, one of the premier regional business newspapers in the country. He’s the fifth person to hold the editor’s position in the paper’s long history. He oversees a staff of about 15 people. The OCBJ is considered a must-read for area business executives. The print edition of the paper is the primary source of local news for most of the Business Journal’s subscribers, which includes most of OC’s major corporate and community players. Mark’s been with the paper since 2005, and long served as the real estate reporter for the paper, breaking hundreds of commercial and residential real estate stories. He took on the editor’s position in 2018.

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