Preferred Apartment Communities Inc. (NYSE: APTS), a publicly traded real estate investment trust, announced yesterday that the company’s co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer, John Williams unexpectedly passed away early Monday.
“The board and the company are indebted to Mr. Williams for his strong leadership, real estate vision, outgoing personality and boundless energy. The board’s thoughts are with John’s family at this very difficult time.”
The board has appointed vice-chairman and chief investment officer Daniel DuPree to succeed Williams as chairman and CEO. Leonard Silverstein, a co-founder of the company along with Williams, has been appointed vice-chairman of the board and will continue as president and chief operating officer.
Silverstein and DuPree stated, “John was a dear friend, partner, mentor and influence in our lives and careers. He was a visionary and understood the importance of creating a company that is built on culture, associates, reputation and brand. We are committed to continuing John’s vision to create the preeminent real estate investment trust in the United States.”
Over the course of his career, Williams directed and coordinated the development, construction, and management of more than $15 billion in real estate developments. Approximately $5.5 billion of this activity has focused on multifamily housing, with the balance in other property types including hotels, condominiums and offices.
He founded Post Properties Inc. in 1970, which he took public as a REIT in 1993. When he resigned as chairman in 2003, the company had approximately 30,000 apartment units and had averaged funds from operations growth of 7 percent per year commencing with its initial public offering.
Williams received numerous accolades and awards during his career and was included on National Real Estate Investor’s list of “The 20th Century’s Most Influential Developers.” He was awarded the “Atlanta Residential Developer of The Decade,” for the 1990s by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, followed by the Harvard Business School’s “Community Leadership Award” in 2000.
He was active in varied philanthropic activities, outreaches, and organizations in Georgia and around the world. In the spring of 2008, he was inducted into the Georgia State University J. Mack Robinson College of Business Hall of Fame, and the Georgia Institute of Technology College of Management Hall of Fame.
Williams, who is widely credited with coining the phrases “Smart Growth” and “Live, Work, Play,” served on the board of the Atlanta Falcons of which he is also a minority owner. He has previously served on the boards of Riverside Bancshares Inc., where he was the largest stockholder, NationsBank, Barnett Banks Inc., the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, the Atlanta Regional Commission, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, and on the Executive Committee of the National Apartment Association, among others.
Williams is survived by his wife Nancy; three children, Jay, Sarah Brook and Parker, and two grandchildren, Jack and Harrison.
Preferred Apartment Communities Inc. was formed primarily to acquire and operate multifamily properties in select targeted markets throughout the United States.