Michael Lebovitz elevated to president at CBL; Stephen Lebovitz continues as CEO

In this 2011 staff file photo, CBL's Michael Lebovitz announces at Center Court inside Hamilton Place mall a multimillion-dollar renovation of the complex.


* Job: CBL Properties president; formerly executive vice president - development and administration* Experience: Joined CBL’s predecessor company in 1988; project manager for CoolSprings Galleria in Nashville; senior vice president - chief development officer, senior vice president – mall projects; vice president - development. Prior to CBL, he was affiliated with Goldman, Sachs & Co. from 1986.* Activities: Member of the International Council of Shopping Centers; served on the national boards of Jewish Federations of North America, United Israel Appeal, and United Way of Greater Chattanooga.* Personal: Married, three children

CBL Properties on Monday named Michael I. Lebovitz as president of the shopping center owner and operator where he'll continue the push to redevelop the company's nationwide portfolio.

Lebovitz, 54, said plans are to "breathe new life" into the malls and centers run by the Chattanooga-based company that's one of the sector's biggest countrywide.

"Hamilton Place is a great example," he said in an interview, noting work already done at the city's biggest mall and plans to keep bringing new options, such as the proposed entry by The Cheesecake Factory near the Sears store.

Stephen Lebovitz, CBL's chief executive officer, said the new role is deserving given his brother's 30 years in the business and broadened leadership efforts. Most recently, Michael Lebovitz served as executive vice president - development and administration.

"I am thrilled to recognize Michael's many contributions as well as his increased role in implementing CBL's strategy and future growth with this promotion," said the CEO. "Michael has always had a true passion for the real estate business. He's earned it."

He said that over the last several years, his brother has demonstrated proactive leadership, overseeing key initiatives including CBL's redevelopment program, advancements in technology and business processes and improvements to its corporate human resource practices and culture.

"He is never satisfied with status quo and that drive will be invaluable as we work together to achieve our immediate and longer term goals for CBL," said the company's chief.

He said CBL's strategy has evolved and redevelopment is the primary growth initiative.

"Michael is playing a key role in that," Lebovitz said, citing plans to bring more food, beverage, fitness, office, residential, hotels and even self-storage to its properties.

The new president said redevelopment requires city approvals, working with existing retailers as well as attracting added users.

"There's a lot of opportunities in the portfolio," he said, adding he'll keep a focus on administration within the company that employs 250 people in Chattanooga and 800 nationally.

Both the company leaders lauded last week's U.S. Supreme Court decision over online taxes, saying it levels the playing field between internet and bricks-and-mortar businesses. The court ruled that states are allowed to compel retailers to collect taxes from out-of-state online sales.

"It's a real victory," said Michael Lebovitz. He said a number of digital retailers are recognizing they need physical space to grow, too, and that's an opportunity for CBL's properties.

Concerning CBL's share price, it has rebounded in the last 45 days or so after hitting a yearly low on April 23 of $3.85. On Monday, the stock closed at $6.11, down 8 cents, or 1.29 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange.

Stephen Lebovitz said the whole sector has been punished and believes CBL shares are drastically undervalued.

Charles Lebovitz, father of Stephen and Michael, is chairman of the company that operates both Hamilton Place and Northgate malls in Chattanooga. Another brother, Alan, is executive vice president – management at CBL.

CBL Properties owns and manages a national portfolio of properties across the United States. CBL's portfolio is comprised of 117 properties totaling 73.4 million square feet in 26 states, including 75 enclosed, outlet and open-air retail centers and 13 properties managed for third parties.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.