NEW YORK CITY-In a move made in part to boost production, Cushman & Wakefield has laid off roughly 70 brokers and 80 low-to-mid-level managers throughout the nation.

A prepared statement issued by the firm noted that, “in assessing the economic outlook, and in our continual efforts to improve efficiencies for the ultimate benefit of our clients, we have instituted a number of expense- and operating cost-containment measures. While we believe these reductions to be the prudent and necessary outcome of our on-going analysis of the economy, we remain committed to maintaining the quality of global client service for which Cushman & Wakefield is known here and abroad.”

But in an exclusive interview with, president of US operations Bruce Mosler says that the cuts were made not only as a cost-containment move but also as an opportunity to boost production. “We are looking at opportunities to gain more market share and grow our leadership position,” he says. “We don’t evaluate our talent on an annual basis, but rather we look at a history of their production.” That history, he notes, could span from three to five years.

Mosler was frank in admitting that during the extended expansion mode the industry enjoyed, C&W focused on “Those who belonged” within the company culture and vision. “What we didn’t pay close attention to was their current level of production, so this was something that was long overdue.”

While the current sluggish economic picture did force a closer look at productivity levels, the cuts themselves, he says, were not based on the strength of local economies but were straight across the national playing field. And the positions opened as a result of the cuts will not all be filled, he tells, but will be filled where C&W management is confident of gaining a market edge. “We’re raising the bar,” Mosler says, “just like we raised the bar in Boston.” Last month, C&W snagged Trammell Crow’s local investment sales team–headed by Rob Griffin Jr. (Click on: Trammell Crow’s Boston-Based Investment Team Jumps Ship)

If indeed C&W is cleaning house as a preamble to hiring up, the firm couldn’t have picked a better time, according to one executive search guru we spoke with: “Given the talent that’s out there, the smart money would cut back and rebuild,” he says.

Does that mean this is the start of a trend? “I think real estate companies are reevaluating their teams on a very aggressive and active basis,” the source states. “Any company that’s not is making a mistake. The attention should be on weeding out the weaker players and recruiting more talent.”

“None of us are making announcements,” Mosler adds, “but it’s safe to say all other national firms are going through a similar process.”

Will there be more cuts at C&W? Mosler says no. “We are very happy with the talent we have,” he states. At the same time, he says there will be ongoing reviews of productivity levels. “We have an obligation to continue to raise the bar,” he concludes.

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