// Corporate Strategist // CWR ’08 // 27 //
When Joseph Tichar graduated from Case Western Reserve with a degree in business management, he entered an 18-month management-training program with DDR Corp. in Beachwood, Ohio, a $16 billion publicly traded real estate investment trust with properties across the U.S., Puerto Rico and Brazil.
That was June 2008. Six months later, the company’s stock price had plunged from about $35 to less than $4 per share, with some analysts indicating bankruptcy might be possible, given the dislocation in the capital markets. Fortunately, Tichar already had impressed his employer; rather than terminate his participation in the training program to save money, leadership promoted him to work for the president.
DDR survived that era of upheaval, and Tichar since has become senior vice president of corporate operations and chief of staff. He reports to CEO Dan Hurwitz and oversees strategic planning, portfolio management and other areas of day-to-day operations.
“One of my prouder accomplishments was being actively involved in the strategic planning process during the downturn—preparing presentations for the board and then being involved in the execution,” he says. “The process was challenging and rewarding.”
DDR, whose stock price has since risen significantly, is full of young leaders like Tichar these days. “One thing that sets the company apart,” he says, “is its willingness to give young people a chance.” —LC