The CRE Finance Council (CREFC) has named Lisa Pendergast as its new executive director.
Pendergast, most recently head of CMBS Strategy & Risk at Jefferies, effectively replaces Steve Renna, former CEO and president of the industry group.
Renna left the organization in March after about five years at the helm amid reported strategic conflicts with other senior members of the lobby group.
The executive director position is a new one, part of an organizational restructuring, and follows the hire this spring of Michael Flood as deputy executive director.
Pendergast, who according to a CREFC spokesperson has departed Jefferies and will begin her role next month, brings 25 years of industry experience in structured finance markets.
Prior to Jefferies, she was a managing director in the Fixed-Income Strategies Group at the Royal Bank of Scotland.
She was also CREFC president between 2010-2011, and is member of the Board of Governors for nine years running.
Greg Michaud, head of Real Estate Finance for Voya Investment Management and chairman of CREFC’s Board, said 35 senior-level professionals were seriously considered for the position, “including people with trade association experience, real estate lenders, investors, special servicers, attorneys, accountants and some with GSE experience, among others.”
“Enthusiasm for Lisa is strong,” he said in a statement. “She is one of us and will well-represent the interests of the industry at the national policy level and relative to industry support and market making for commercial real estate debt products going forward.”
Pendergast added: “The commercial real estate finance sector is as vibrant as it has ever been, but it is not without its challenges. CREFC will continue to work with its member firms to ensure that this important sector of the US economy continues to thrive in the years and decades ahead.”