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NEW YORK CITY-GlobeSt.com has learned that Witkoff Group CFO George Stone is leaving the company for parts unknown. The move is emblematic of an already transient industry’s recently accelerated jump rate.

“Yes, he is leaving or has left” the source tells GlobeSt.com. “I don’t think he left for another opportunity. I do think there’s a major downsizing going on there.”

Witkoff, based here, specializes in acquiring and renovating office properties, such as the landmark Woolworth Building. But CEO Steven C. Witkoff keeps the firm active in virtually all aspects of the industry and across most sectors in several key markets. Witkoff and Stone did not return calls by press time.

Stone’s departure coincides with another CFO switch, this one at CB Richard Ellis. Kenneth J. Kay on Friday replaced Jim Leonetti as the firm’s chief financial officer. Kay comes from Dole Food Co. Inc., where he served as vice president and CFO.

CBRE’s doors have been swinging off their hinges lately, mostly inward. High-profile hires of note include former Insignia/ESG superstar Mary Ann Tighe, now CBRE’s president and CEO of the New York Tri-State region, and Port Authority veteran Cherrie Nanninga, who joined the firm as COO of Tri-State operations.

Over at Grubb & Ellis, CEO Barry Barovick recently revealed that the firm’s chief operating officer, Mark Costello, had left the firm and that Barovick would assume his duties for the time being. Speaking to GlobeSt.com in an exclusive interview for this week’s UpClose, Barovick says, “I characterize it as a mutual agreement. It is better for Mark in light of the fact that I’m going to be much more hands on. For me to be effective this was the best way to handle that. But it was definitely a mutual agreement.”

According to Anthony J. LoPinto, managing director and CEO of real estate industry-focused executive search firm Equinox Partners, much of the corporate jockeying can be put down to the fact that companies are hiring new talent to prepare for a new economy. “We’re in the trough of a market,” LoPinto tells GlobeSt.com. “Companies are looking to reposition themselves for what is going to be a recovering market. They’re looking for bench strength, to add some power players.”

As to why top producers are jumping to the competition, often abandoning career-long jobs, “It’s not that the moves are being made [just] for money,” LoPinto notes. “Some power players want to seize market share in what is again going to be a competitive market. They’re going to make moves to be in what they believe is going to be the best platform to generate business.”

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