Twilight of an Era: Seth Pinsky Leaving EDC for RXR Realty

Leaving for the private sector.

Leaving for the private sector.

The waning months of Mayor Bloomberg’s reign are expected to be marked by a series of high-powered departures, as one official after another jumps ship before the mayor leaves office. The latest is Bloomberg stalwart and Dan Doctoroff protégée Seth Pinsky, who is stepping down from the Economic Development Corporation to take a private sector gig with RXR Realty, as the agency announced today. Kyle Kimball, who is currently the agency’s executive director, will succeed him.

Given that it’s already mid-July, the decision to go wouldn’t be that all that surprising were it not Mr. Pinsky departing. In his role as NYCEDC president, Mr. Pinksy was, in many senses, Mayor Bloomberg’s right-hand man when it came to locking down the complicated development projects most likely to secure the mayor’s legacy: Atlantic Yards, Hudson Yards, the Cornell tech campus on Roosevelt Island, Willets Point, the Kingsbridge Armory. Under Bloomberg, the not-for-profit arm of the mayor’s office tasked with promoting economic development across the five boroughs shifted from an organization that largely paired tenants with office space to a policy-setting, city-altering powerhouse.

Mr. Pinsky has also played an instrumental role in the mayor’s post-Sandy strategy, leading the Special Initiative on Resiliency and Rebuilding, which produced “A Stronger, More Resilient New York,” the massive plan released by the in June with some 250 ideas to shield the city from future hurricanes, including the clunky and eyebrow-raising proposal to build “SeaPort City” on the east side of Lower Manhattan.

According to a memo obtained by Capital New York, which first broke the news of Mr. Pinsky’s departure in advance of the announcement, Mr. Pinsky stayed on for longer than he had initially intended to finish the plan.

“Seth had apprised the Mayor and me of his interest in taking on a new challenge several months ago, but when the Mayor entrusted him with the important mission of leading the Special Initiative on Resiliency and Rebuilding he agreed to stay on through the summer,” the memo read.

Mr. Pinsky, who worked as an investment analyst and lawyer, refinancing real estate deals for the big banks as an associate at Cleary Gottlieb before leading the EDC, will be an executive vice president at RXR Realty, a firm that much like Mr. Pinsky and the EDC, emerged unscathed, victorious even, from the wreckage of the financial crisis.

“When I was first appointed to the role of President in 2008, New York City was in the midst of one of the worst financial crises in modern history,” Mr. Pinsky said in a statement. “Since then, we have witnessed, once again, the amazing resilience of New York City, its people and its economy, with more people working today in New York’s private sector than at any time in our City’s history.”

As for Mr. Kimball, who worked as a vice president at both Goldman, Sachs & Co. and J.P. Morgan before joining the EDC, the next few months will likely be extremely busy. As the late-breaking release of the waterfront plan suggests, Mayor Bloomberg apparently intends to push through as many initiatives as possible in the dwindling days of his term; he said as much in his statement on the transition.

“We’re going to be counting on him to as we sprint to the finish over the next 168 days, and I have no doubt he will succeed in managing some of our most important projects,” the mayor wrote.