ESRT Culture

Meet the Board: R. Paige Hood Speaks on His Southern Roots and ESRT’s Market Reputation

March 18, 2024

Meet ESRT’s money mover.

R. Paige Hood is chair of the finance committee on ESRT’s Board of Directors, where he advises on the company’s investment strategy and corporate financial planning. Paige was appointed to the board due to his extensive experience in real estate finance, with emphasis on strategic navigation of real estate downturns.

After 31 years with PGIM Real Estate Finance – an asset management subsidiary of Prudential Financial, Inc. – Paige retired from his position as chief investment officer and senior portfolio manager where he oversaw the investment process for all the company’s mortgage investments.

He received a bachelor’s degree in finance and an MBA from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge.

Paige recently joined ESRT’s Chief People Office Kevin Vilke to discuss his pathway from small town southerner to big city financier.

See highlights from the conversation below!

On His Southern Upbringing:

“I grew up, figuratively, as far from Manhattan as one could be in a small town [called] Smackover, Arkansas. There were less than 2,000 people in the town, but I met my wife there. We met when I was 10, and we’ve been married now for 45 years. My parents were both in the school industry; my dad was a Superintendent, and my mom was a librarian so anything that happened at school, they knew about. There was nothing that I could get away with at school. There were certainly some benefits to [growing up in Smackover]. I’m happy where I am today, but it was a good place to start.”

On His Role on the ESRT Board:

“My primary role has been the chair of the finance committee, and I’m also on the audit committee and on the nominating and governance committee. We work with Christina [Chiu] and team to discuss the company’s earnings situation, the trends that we see, the financing that we have, our liquidity position – all the important financial metrics that one looks at to be comfortable with the direction of the company. The second focus is to work with Aaron [Ratner] and his team on the investment opportunities they see in the market, what they consider acquisition-wise, what to look at sales-wise, and everything in between.”

On ESRT’s Recent Acquisitions:

“The majority of [ESRT’s recent] acquisitions have been multifamily and my bias in my prior career was toward multifamily. I’m very comfortable with what Aaron and the team have done and the strategy that Tony [Malkin] and Christina developed to go after that business. I think the execution was terrific in the sense that the timing is really good. The assets have performed well and have transitioned the company from strictly office and retail – it has given us another avenue for investment.”

On ESRT’s Reputation in the Market:

“I think the market viewed ESRT as an office company even though we have an Observatory and retail. We began to think of ourselves as more of a New York-centric company that has core competency in New York real estate, and it extended beyond offices and retail. I think now the market appreciates that. There are skills around office, skills around retail, and skills around multifamily, but there is a particular skill around operating real estate in New York City. As ESRT takes its expertise and broadens it to include our other property types, it gives investors an opportunity to play broadly in New York City.”

Responses have been edited for clarity.

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