People Space: Execs move at Chartwell, Empire, Crombie, Hullmark

Managing Editor
  • May. 17, 2019
IMAGE: Vlad Volodarski will become CEO of Chartwell, succeeding Brent Binions in March of 2020. (Courtesy Chartwell)

Vlad Volodarski will become CEO of Chartwell, succeeding Brent Binions in March of 2020. (Courtesy Chartwell)

CEO Brent Binions will retire from Chartwell Retirement Residences (CSH-UN-T) in March of 2020, the trust announced. Vlad Volodarski, currently Chartwell’s chief financial officer and chief investment officer, will succeed him.

“It has been my utmost pleasure to be a part of Chartwell for 15 years and to lead it the last 10 years,” Binions said in a release. “My intent is to work closely with Vlad over the next 10 months to ensure a smooth transition and to help him to get a head start in his new role.”

Volodarski has been with Chartwell since 2003. In 2005, he was named CFO and in 2011 he added the responsibilities of CIO. He oversees development, acquisition, disposition and asset management activities.

Volodarski, originally trained as a mechanical engineer in Ukraine, is a Certified Public Accountant, holds an ICD.D designation, and is a graduate of Harvard’s Business School Advanced Management Program.

“I am honoured to be selected as Brent’s successor to lead Chartwell in the next phase of its growth and development,” Volodarski said in the release. “We have an outstanding leadership team that has been together for over 10 years and I am looking forward to continuing to work with them.”

Binions will continue to serve on Chartwell’s board of directors following his retirement.

Chartwell operates seniors housing communities from supportive living through long-term care. Canada’s largest seniors living operator, it owns more than 200 retirement communities in four provinces.

St-Laurent become COO at Empire

As Empire Company Ltd. (EMP-A-T), continues its transformation, the parent of the Sobeys grocery store chain has made several changes to its executive team and structure. 

Pierre St-Laurent has been appointed to the newly created role of chief operating officer, full service. He assumes responsibility for merchandising, retail operations, and supply chain across the company’s full service and community banners, including Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Thrifty Foods and Foodland.

St-Laurent has been the leader of the company’s Quebec business and its national chief merchant for the past year.

Empire is expanding the role of chief financial officer Michael Vels, who will also oversee the information technology team. Vels has deep experience in technology, digital implementation and transformation. This is added to the Real Estate, Indirect Sourcing, and Enterprise Project Management Office which currently report to Vels.   

Empire has also launched a competition for a new chief information officer. Its former head of technology and transformation management, Clinton Keay, became CFO of Crombie REIT on May 15. 

Empire has also appointed two new members to its executive committee: Luc L’Archeveque, senior vice-president, merchandising and general manager, Quebec; and Lorne MacLean, senior vice-president, retail operations.

“The heavy lifting of Project Sunrise is almost done and I couldn’t be happier with the exceptional progress the team continues to make. This is a significantly improved company from that of even a year ago,” said Michael Medline, president and CEO, in announcing the appointments.

“The time is right to set our sights on the next phase of growth, with leaders who will integrate and unify our efforts further, enhance execution and accelerate innovation for the long-term.”

As part of a planned transition, Lyne Castonguay, the executive vice-president for store experience, is leaving Empire.

Knowlton Crombie’s new chair

Crombie Real Estate Investment Trust (CRR-UN-T) has appointed Michael Knowlton to chair its board of trustees. He replaces Frank Sobey, who retired after chairing the board since its 2006 initial public offering.

Knowlton holds various designations including CPA, CA, ICD.D. He has 25 years of experience in the real estate industry, including serving as president of Dundee REIT for five years. He is a director of Tricon Capital Group Inc. and trustee of Dream Industrial REIT.

A trustee of Crombie REIT since 2011, Knowlton has been chair of Crombie’s audit committee since 2014.

Hullmark hires EVP, promotes two

Toronto-based real estate investor and developer Hullmark has made one addition and two promotions within its executive team.

Noah Rechtsman has joined the company as executive vice-president, private equity. Aly Damji has been promoted to executive vice-president of investments and asset management, while Leona Savoie becomes senior vice-president of development. 

Rechtsman was a senior vice-president in Cushman & Wakefield’s capital markets Group where he oversaw transactions in excess of $1.5 billion of commercial assets and several million square feet of residential/commercial density. He will lead Hullmark’s private equity and debt verticals. 

“Noah’s distinguished 12-year career in real estate investment sales have positioned him well to lead the growth of Hullmark’s established – yet relatively unknown – private equity and debt verticals,” said Hullmark president Jeff Hull in a statement announcing the hiring.

“Aly has, and continues to play a vital role in the development of our active platform, sourcing acquisitions together with me, as well as leading the asset management and tenant experience divisions within Hullmark,” Hull said, adding Savoie has “played an instrumental role in helping deliver our best-in-class developments to market, by leading planning and project management activities at our company.”

Hullmark invests in, develops, and manages urban commercial property. It also operates a private equity vertical through which it has direct investments in existing development projects with an enterprise value in excess of $850 million.


Don is a veteran editor and journalist with three decades of experience in print and online news, including 20 years at the Ottawa Sun. Most recently, he was the Sun’s…

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Don is a veteran editor and journalist with three decades of experience in print and online news, including 20 years at the Ottawa Sun. Most recently, he was the Sun’s…

Read more





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