New York REIT Inc., a property company facing pressure from investors, named Randolph Read nonexecutive chairman and authorized a $150 million stock buyback.
Read, a member of the board since 2014, succeeds William Kahane, who will continue as a director, the real estate investment trust said in a statement Monday. The company also hired Cushman & Wakefield Inc. and Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP to sell certain assets as part of an effort to focus on top-tier New York City real estate delivering stable returns.
“As we continue to deliver on these objectives, we believe we should be able to close the valuation difference between our current trading price and what management believes is our considerably higher net asset value,” Chief Executive Officer Michael Happel said in the statement.
The REIT has been struggling since founder Nicholas Schorsch became embroiled last year in a scandal over accounting inaccuracies at American Realty Capital Properties Inc. Schorsch resigned from the board of New York REIT and 12 other companies at the end of December. New York REIT in October engaged bankers to study options to enhance shareholder value, a process the company said last month it had suspended.
Last week, shareholder Rambleside Holdings called for a sale of New York REIT or a liquidation of its portfolio, and firms controlled by investors Steven Witkoff and Michael Ashner offered to manage the company. Previously, Sorin Capital Management, one of New York REIT’s largest shareholders, questioned the decision to suspend the study of strategic alternatives and urged the landlord to sever ties with sponsor AR Capital and sell non-core assets.
The announcement was made after the close of regular trading Monday. New York REIT fell 1.3 percent to $10.29. The shares have lost 15 percent in the past 12 months.