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SANTA ANA, CA-Tony Thompson, the tenant-in-common pioneer and founder of NNN Realty Advisors whose firm merged with Grubb & Ellis in December, has resigned his posts as chairman of the board and a director of Grubb & Ellis, effective Feb. 8. Thompson, who remains the company’s second-largest shareholder, tells GlobeSt.com that he will remain active in real estate but will no longer play a role in Grubb & Ellis or its affiliated companies.

“I probably couldn’t leave the company at a better time or in better hands,” Thompson tells GlobeSt.com. He says it’s too early to say specifically what he will be doing in the real estate world, other than to comment, “I’m a real estate guy, and I will continue to be doing real estate investments. I have a lot of different options that I’m weighing right now.”

Thompson became chairman of Grubb & Ellis on Dec. 7 last year when the Grubb & Ellis merger with NNN Realty Advisors was completed. Grubb & Ellis has named independent director Glenn L. Carpenter as nonexecutive chairman of the board, meaning a board chairman who is not a part of the company’s executive management team.

Carpenter, who has served on Grubb & Ellis’ board since the merger with NNN, served on the board of NNN Realty Advisors since its formation in November 2006. Since August 2001 he has served as CEO of Newport Beach-based senior housing specialist FountainGlen Properties, and before that he served from 1994 to 2001 as the CEO and founder of Pacific Gulf Properties, a public industrial and apartment REIT. From 1970 to 1994, Carpenter served as CEO and in other posts at Santa Anita Realty Enterprises, a public REIT that owned and managed a variety of property types.

Although NNN and Grubb & Ellis have only recently merged, Thompson says that the relationship between the two companies goes much farther back. “I began talking with some folks at Grubb & Ellis about the possibilities as early as the spring of 2001,” the departing chairman recalls.

Scott Peters, CEO of Grubb & Ellis, comments that Thompson was “hugely helpful in the effort to merge the Grubb & Ellis and NNN Realty Advisors platforms.” Peters called Thompson “an acknowledged visionary in our sector of the real estate investment universe, having led us to transaction volumes of over $8.5 billion.”

Thompson formed Triple Net Properties LLC in 1998, and the company quickly became a leader in the 1031 exchange and tenant-in-common markets. Through the years, Thompson expanded Triple Net’s reach, creating a broker-dealer network through NNN Capital Corp., launching several public offerings for nontraded REITs, then reorganizing Triple Net and NNN Capital Corp. in 2006 to create NNN Realty Advisors Inc. NNN raised $160 million in a common stock offering before the combination with Grubb & Ellis, by which time NNN Realty Advisors and its predecessors had placed nearly $3 billion in investor funds in a variety of real estate investments.

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