There was some unexpected management turnover yesterday in the data center REIT world yesterday with the news that Michael Foust has left the CEO role at Digital Realty Trust. He has been succeeded by the company’s CFO/CIO Bill Stein, at least in the interim. A search will soon begin for a permanent successor.
2013 was a somewhat more difficult year for the company than usual, with the stock down on the year after many years of strong performance. There was an accounting stumble along with a generally less favorable overall market opinion of data center REITs driving some of that that. But over Foust’s long tenure, Digital Realty grew into an industry giant spanning 131 properties around the world with 24.5M net rentable square feet of space.
No specific reason was given for Foust’s departure, just that it was mutually agreed between him and the board of directors that it was time for a transition. But in today’s world people always seem to be on the move, and I’m guessing he has something new he’d like to work on and we’ll find out about it soon enough. Digital Realty will take a one-time charge of $0.10 per share for his separation compensation, with guidance otherwise remaining unchanged.
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