Barclays Axes Mark Walsh, Lehman’s Fallen Commercial Real Estate King

Barclays Capital has fired Mark Walsh, the man in charge of Lehman Brothers’ commercial real estate investments, along with nearly all the rest of Lehman’s commercial-mortgage-backed securities team, according to the trade mag Commercial Mortgage Alert.

Mr. Walsh has often been described as the "man behind the curtain" who made Lehman Brothers loads of money during the heyday of the CMBS market, but also as a man who took far too many risks and ultimately played a significant role in Lehman’s demise. Indeed, Mr. Walsh financed Tishman-Speyer’s ill-conceived $22.2 billion acquisition of Archstone-Smith, a luxury apartment building portfolio that has since been devalued; and financed SunCal’s $110.2 million purchase of a 2.25-acre plot of land in Southern California.

According to CMA:

Barclays this week made deep cuts in the commercial real estate operation that it inherited from Lehman Brothers, dismissing more than 100 staffers — including nearly the entire commercial MBS team. But Barclays retained Lehman’s real estate investment banking group, which has about three dozen members. Still unclear is the fate of a handful of people from Lehman’s real estate trading group. The dismissals were unsurprising, given the central role commercial real estate played in Lehman’s collapse. Lehman was stuck with a largely illiquid, $32.6 billion portfolio of real estate assets. Many doubted that Barclays would want to significantly expand its relatively modest presence in the U.S. commercial real estate market after Lehman’s experience.

Among those let go were managing director Mark Walsh, Lehman’s top commercial real estate executive, and managing director Ken Cohen, head of the CMBS group. Also dismissed were managing director Larry Kravetz, head of the large-loan group, and managing directors Brett Ersoff and John Herman, who co-headed the conduit loan operation.

Barclays Axes Mark Walsh, Lehman’s Fallen Commercial Real Estate King