CLEVELAND-Thomas Smith, who has held the CFO post at Forest City Enterprises Inc. for the past 22 years, has announced that he will retire on or about April 1, 2008, following the filing of the locally based real estate company’s 2007 report with the SEC. Robert O’Brien, currently an EVP with the firm, has been appointed to replace him.

At 66, Smith “wants to get on with other aspects of his life,” a Forest City spokesman tells GSR. O’Brien will take the CFO post at the start of the company’s fiscal year on Feb. 1, 2008 and also continue to hold his EVP title.

“Tom Smith has been involved in virtually every Forest City financial transaction for more than two decades,” says Charles Ratner, president and CEO, in a statement. Among Smith’s accomplishments, Ratner cites “his leadership in cultivating lasting, trust-based relationships with our banks and other financial partners.

“In particular, Tom’s ability to recruit, retain and develop an exceptionally talented team in the company’s accounting and financial reporting areas has created a lasting legacy and set a high standard for us all,” Ratner continues. He notes that Smith and O’Brien “have worked closely together for years, and we have benefited greatly from their collective wisdom and expertise.”

In 1988, O’Brien left as VP of Oxford Development in Bethesda, MD and Indianapolis to join Forest City as VP of finance for the company’s commercial group. From 1994 to 2000, he was president of the Forest City Finance Co. subsidiary. Since then, he’s been EVP in charge of strategy and investment management for Forest City Rental Properties Corp., another subsidiary.

Ratner calls O’Brien “uniquely qualified to become our next CFO. His financial management skills, capital markets experience, knowledge of our operations, and leadership in our investment and strategic planning process enable him to bring a broad perspective to this key position.”

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