SANTA ANA, CA-In the latest executive loss for Grubb & Ellis Co., Scott D. Peters has resigned as CEO, president and director, effective immediately. The board has named independent director Gary H. Hunt as interim CEO.

The Grubb & Ellis board has jumped into a search for a permanent CEO, according to this morning’s press release. Details are sketchy about the step-down, but the board says Peters will continue as a strategic adviser and remain as chairman and CEO of Grubb & Ellis Healthcare REIT “or” executive vice president of Grubb & Ellis Apartment REIT.

Grubb & Ellis has lost several key executives this year, but Peters is the first one to stay on board in some fashion so it could be the long-time executive for the company’s predecessor and buyer, Triple Net Properties Inc., needed a break or is going “to pursue other interests” as the release says. The underlying reason for his exit from the top seat couldn’t be determined by press time nor was there time to glean reaction from the brokerage community. (However, will provide follow-up coverage of this story.)

Grubb & Ellis’ losses this year included Tony Thompson, who has filed an SEC document seeking a board seat and faulting the company’s direction. Thompson is the company’s second-largest shareholder.

Peters’ interim replacement also serves on the board of William Lyon Co. and is chairman of the advisory board of Kennecott Land Co. Hunt also is senior adviser to Lennar Corp., Tejon Ranch Co. and DMB LLC in Scottsdale, AZ, all Western US developers of master-planned communities. He previously was executive vice president and board member for the Irvine Co.

“We couldn’t be more appreciative of Scott’s efforts, especially the role he played both during the merger and over the past seven months as we’ve begun executing on Grubb & Ellis’ long-term growth strategy,” said Glenn L. Carpenter, the board’s chairman, says in this morning’s release.