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NORTHBROOK, IL-Next year will bring a new focus for Grubb & Ellis Co. corporate leaders. The commercial real estate firm, looking to shift quickly into the consulting arena, will put regional managing directors in charge of all business in their territory – primarily transaction services, consulting and property management – rather than focus on one aspect.

The focus will trickle down to the entire 8,000-person staff, says President and CEO Barry M. Barovick.

“This change represents a big departure from how Grubb & Ellis has done business in the past,” says Barovick, who took over at the company’s helm in April after running Ernst & Young’s real estate advisory services group. “Our employees’ interests are now better aligned with the company’s overall revenue and operational profitability goals.”

There was no profit in the quarter ending Sept. 30. The company posted a $2.3-million loss as revenue fell 29% over the same period in 2000 to $76.8 million. Transaction fees fell 32%, to $62.9 million.

Grubb & Ellis managers already were succeeding at controlling costs, reducing expenses by 3% from the 2000 quarter. There already is a hiring freeze in addition to scaled-back business travel and a re-evaluation of the company’s participation in events.

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