CARSON, CA-Richard Cannon has stepped aside as president and CEO of Watson Land Co. after 18 years, and the firm has named Watson chief financial officer Bruce A. Choate to succeed him. Cannon will retire from the private real estate investment trust at the end of the year.William Huston, chairman of Watson Land, noted that under Cannon, the company developed the Dominguez Technology Center, a modern business and industrial center in Carson. Before joining Watson, Cannon was with The Irvine Co. for 16 years as a vice president and a corporate officer. Among the boards and organizations Cannon has served on are the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp., the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce, the President’s Advisory Board of California State University Dominguez Hills, and the foundation of the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks. He was founding chairman of the South Bay Economic Development Partnership and a past member of the Economic Development Commission for the City of Carson.

Choate joined Watson Land after serving as CFO for the Bixby Ranch Co., a privately held real estate investment company. He is a member of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, the Real Estate Investment Advisory Council, the National Realty Committee and the Urban Land Institute. He serves on the board of directors for AvalonBay Communities and the Boys & Girls Club of Carson.

Watson is one of the oldest land companies in California and one of the largest developers of master-planned industrial centers in Los Angeles County, with roots extending 200 years to the Rancho San Pedro, California’s first Spanish land grant. Since embarking on a development program in the early 1960′s, the firm has developed and now owns and manages approximately 12 million sf of industrial, office and technology buildings and business centers, primarily in the South Bay area of Los Angeles.

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