Former congressman Ryan Costello starts consulting firm

18 January 2019

Following his retirement from Congress, former Pennsylvania representative Ryan Costello is starting a consulting firm. Ryan Costello Strategies will primarily focus on strategic communication. 

Costello, a Republican, did not seek reelection in 2018. Members of Congress are disallowed from working as lobbyists for one year after their terms end. Costello’s consulting firm will be a way for him to stay in touch with his political aspirations and ideals while avoiding breaking any rules.

“I’ve been talking to some companies,” he said in an interview with the Reading Eagle. “This way I will be able to stay engaged in policy and politics. And maybe someday I’ll run again.” 

According to recent analysis by The Atlantic, “Of the nearly four dozen lawmakers who left office after the 2016 election, one-fourth stayed in Washington, and one in six became lobbyists.” Costello said he will split his time between his home in Pennsylvania, and Washington DC and New York City, which he will visit for business-related matters once or twice a week.

Former congressman Ryan Costello starts consulting firm

Costello also currently acts as managing director for the Washington DC-based Americans for Carbon Dividends, a climate change advocacy group. He wrote an opinion piece early this month for the Wall Street Journal entitled,“Lesson from 2018: Republicans must deal with climate change.” 

During his tenure, Costello was one of Congress’s most bipartisan members. In an April article citing data from The Lugar Center, Philadelphia region public media station WHYY wrote that Costello ranked ninth in bipartisanship out of all 435 members.

A 2017 study by The Cook Political Report and Quorum ranked him fifth of the top 10 Republicans who voted against their own party, with just over 15% of Costello's votes in opposition to the Republican party. Most of these votes supported environmental, healthcare, and education initiatives.

“[Consulting will] be fun,” Costello said, in the Reading Eagle interview. “I’m 42 and have two little ones. I’m excited to see where this takes me.”

Politics and consulting often go hand-in-hand, with varying results. In September, political consultants Nick Muzin and Joey Allaham launched a public affairs consulting firm in New York City and Washington DC. In June, Kentucky Democratic lobbyist James Sullivan was accused of bribing the state’s Deputy Attorney General to secure lucrative contracts for law firms. Sullivan was subsequently convicted and early this month sentenced to 33 months in prison.

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Real estate consultancy CBRE appoints Leah Stearns as chief financial officer

22 April 2019

CBRE, the world’s largest real estate services and investment firm, has appointed Leah Stearns as its new chief financial officer. Stearns was previously the CFO of the US division of American Tower, a major communications infrastructure firm. She will be based out of Dallas.

As CFO, Stearns will oversee CBRE’s global finance and accounting structure, including tax, treasury, financial planning, and investor relations. Stearns has nearly 20 years of experience in finance and investor relations.

She rapidly climbed the ranks at American Tower after joining the firm in 2001. Based in Boston, the Fortune 500 company – structured as a real estate trust – owns and operates over 170,000 wireless and broadcast communications sites in 16 countries. Real estate consultancy CBRE appoints Leah Stearns as chief financial officerOver her career at the firm, Stearns focused on investor relations, financial planning, and capital markets, rising from the position of manager, to director, to vice president, and then senior vice president. In 2017, she was appointed CEO of the EMEA region, and in November 2018 Stearns was appointed CFO of the US division. In her final role at American Tower, she oversaw the US business’ finance and accounting, mergers and acquisitions, and supply chain, as well as other areas. American Tower had over $6 billion in revenues in 2017, with 50% of its operating profit arising from the US division.

Stearns holds an MBA from Boston College, as well as a BS In finance from Boston University. She is a board member of the non-profit Brookline Community Mental Health Center.

“Leah will bring tremendous capabilities to CBRE,” Bob Sulentic, the company’s president and chief executive officer, said. “She is an exceptional executive who has risen rapidly in her career and has had significant responsibilities in financial management, operational leadership and international activities. Her background is well suited to help us drive our strategy.”

Stearn’s appointment, effective May 15, will see current CFO Jim Groch transition to the role of global group president and chief investment officer.  As chief investment officer, Groch will lead CBRE’s M&A activities and capital allocation into real estate investments.

Based in LA, CBRE had over $14 billion in revenues in 2017, and has approximately 480 offices and 90,000 employees worldwide.

Related: CBRE recognized among World's Most Ethical Companies for sixth year running