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CBL’s Farzana Khaleel will step down as CFO of the big mall owner

Al Urbanski
Farzana Khaleel
CFO Farzana Khaleel departs after more than 20 years at CBL.

One of the top female executives in retail real estate is moving on.

Farzana Khaleel--who led one of America’s biggest owner-operators of malls through a complex financial restructuring and helped it emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection during the pandemic--will step down as CFO of CBL Properties and enter into a consulting arrangement with the company.

“I want to express my deepest appreciation and gratitude to Farzana for her invaluable contributions and dedication to CBL. She has worked tirelessly,” said the company’s CEO Stephen D. Lebovitz, who paid homage to the high level of respect she attained in the shopping center and real estate industries during more than 20 years at the Chattanooga-based company.

“Farzana has been unwavering in her efforts to ensure that CBL is best positioned financially for a stable future and to generate ongoing success for our shareholders. She cares deeply about her team and the entire CBL organization and has always been one of CBL’s biggest advocates,” Lebovitz said.

Replacing her will be investment banker Ben Jaenicke, formerly director of Wells Fargo Securities, who has served as an advisor to CBL for several years. He joins CBL as executive VP of finance and will step into its CFO role in January.

“Ben’s extensive experience working on strategic transactions and financings across the REIT space--as well as his accounting and finance background--will be invaluable as CBL moves forward with its strategic priorities and pursues future opportunities,” Lebovitz said.

Before joining CBL in 2000, Farzana Khaleel worked at Lend Lease Real Estate Investments in Atlanta and served as deputy manager of Equitable Life Assurance Society’s portfolio of real estate mortgages.

CBL owns and operates more than 90 properties across 24 states.

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