SL Green president Mathias steps down after 25 years

Longtime SL Green president Andrew Mathias is stepping down as the city’s largest office landlord struggles with demand and balance sheet challenges.

Mathias, who’s been with the company for nearly 25 years, will leave when his current contract is up at the end of the year, SL Green announced Tuesday morning. 

The executive’s departure was not the result of a disagreement or dispute, the company said in an SEC filing. He will remain a member of the board of directors and serve as a $100,000-a-year adviser to CEO Marc Holliday.

“It has been an extraordinary experience helping to lead this industry-leading company for nearly a quarter century, and I couldn’t be prouder of everything we’ve achieved for our shareholders, our employees and our city,” Mathias said in a prepared statement. “We have a proud history at SL Green of developing and empowering young talent, and I look forward to seeing our next generation of leaders flourish and take SL Green to the next level.”

Mathias joined SL Green in 1999, two years after the company went public. He helped shepherd the REIT through a period of tremendous growth, seeing it through the Financial Crisis and helping to develop marquee property One Vanderbilt.

But the company has had its fair share of difficulties. SL Green’s stock price has been depressed for years, and it’s burdened by a high debt load. The REIT has been buying back stock instead of investing in new properties, and has seen an exodus of some top talent. 

Piper Sandler analyst Alex Goldfarb sent a note out saying Mathias’ departure “shows the depth of this office upheaval.”

“We interpret this news to reflect a desire by the company to cut costs aggressively and note that several from the C-Suite have departed in recent years as SLG has skinnied down,” the analyst wrote. 

Mathias earned nearly $12 million last year, most of it in stock compensation. SL Green’s share price is down 63 percent in the past five years, although it is up about 75 percent from its 52-week low.

Long-term plans for the post weren’t immediately clear, but Holliday will serve as the interim president.

Holliday said in a prepared statement that Mathias has been a “true partner” who’s been responsible for the company’s growth. 

“Andrew’s imprint will be felt on this company for years to come, as his vision and leadership live on across our entire portfolio and the countless team members he has mentored,” he said. 

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