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Maguire CEO to Resign; Investors May Be Worried

December 09, 2005|Roger Vincent | Times Staff Writer

Richard I. Gilchrist, seen as a steadying influence with investors in his role as president and co-chief executive of Maguire Properties Inc., will resign from the Los Angeles-based office real estate investment trust, the company said Thursday.

Gilchrist, 59, will step down Jan. 1 and then serve as an advisor on the company's development projects for six more months.

Gilchrist said in a statement that he had no plans and that he looked forward "to exploring other opportunities and accepting new challenges."

The departure may trouble some investors who viewed Gilchrist as a steady-handed expert in corporate governance and counterbalance to founder Robert F. Maguire, who has a reputation as a sometimes volatile maverick developer willing to take big risks.

"I think Wall Street is going to be displeased with this," said analyst Craig Silvers of Bricks & Mortar Capital. "The Street saw Gilchrist as someone who spoke their language and could help a private company understand the needs of becoming a public company."

Maguire Properties is the largest office landlord in downtown Los Angeles and is building a substantial presence in Orange County as the owner of Park Place and other office properties.

Gilchrist, a lawyer and real estate developer, played a key role wooing investors in the months leading up to Maguire's public offering in June 2003, when the stock debuted at $19 a share. It closed Thursday at $31.23, up 28 cents, before the news was announced.

With a total return of 83.4% for stock price appreciation plus dividends since going public, Maguire Properties has outperformed the National Assn. of Real Estate Investment Trusts' average return for REITs of 80.6% for the same period, analyst Silvers said.

Gilchrist was a senior partner at Maguire's company for more than a decade before leaving in 1995. He returned in 2002.

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