Since 2000, Pamela Liebman has been president and CEO of The Corcoran Group, one of New York’s top residential real estate empires. But this ambitious executive once thought she’d be working on Wall Street rather than in real estate.
“When I was in college, I studied business and marketing,” Liebman said. “During my breaks in school, I would often work at Wall Street firms but I didn’t like the structure. I found real estate to be fascinating and thought it would be a fun thing for me to do after I left school. I began in real estate with a friend of my father’s and worked for him for six months. He introduced me to Barbara (Corcoran).”
In her chief executive capacity, Liebman oversees the day-to-day operations of the company, gives direction to Corcoran’s 55 managers and 2,100 employees, and focuses the projects of a corporation that has sales of more than $8 billion annually. Her rise to the presidency ensures proven energetic leadership tempered by wisdom and experience as the company enters the 21st century.
Hear Pamela Liebman speak at Real Estate Connect in New York City, Jan. 9-11.
“When I first began in the business world, my role models were Esther Kaplan, the previous president of The Corcoran Group and Barbara Corcoran,” she said. “They were very different people and I was a hybrid of them.”
Barbara Corcoran is the founder of The Corcoran Group.
Shortly after joining The Corcoran Group as a broker in 1985, Liebman’s talents were rewarded when she was named director of the company’s first downtown office. “Actually,” she laughed. “Barbara wasn’t sure I’d last in the company when she first hired me. Back then, the company only had 30 employees and we walked around with these big books because very little was computerized. We had two offices and worked in this big loft on Prince Street in SoHo.”
Under Liebman’s guidance, that office grew from 12 to more than 70 agents and became the major force in the renaissance of residential Manhattan south of 14th Street. That experience led to her partnership in the corporation in 1990 and to her pivotal role as founding partner of the company’s Marketing Division, the branch of Corcoran that works with building developers to strategically market new properties from their inception. With Liebman at the helm, marketing has grown into an entity that produced more than $1 billion in total sales and redefined the way The Corcoran Group does business.
Liebman is a New York City native, and studied at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and the European Business School in London. She has lectured at New York University, Fordham University, the 92nd Street Y, and the Real Estate Board of New York and serves on numerous panels and committees. In 2002, Crain’s named Pamela as one of the New York business world’s rising stars in its annual “40 Under 40” article; in 2003, The New York Post selected her as one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in New York.
Her leadership and business acumen resulted in her selection as president and CEO in 2000. In 2001, Liebman spearheaded the negotiations that resulted in the successful acquisition of The Corcoran Group by NRT, the nation’s largest real estate brokerage and a subsidiary of Cendant Corp. The sale marked a significant shift in the New York real estate community as Manhattan’s largest privately held residential brokerage firm became NRT’s stepping stone into the New York City market.
With the acquisitions of East Hampton, N.Y.-based Cook Pony Farm and Paulette Koch Real Estate of Palm Beach in 2003, The Corcoran Group expanded its presence into those key markets. Further acquisitions in 2004 – of McCann Coyner Clarke in Palm Beach, of Dayton-Halstead in the Hamptons and of Citi Habitats in New York City – transformed the company into the nation’s premiere luxury real estate firm and the latter cemented Corcoran’s position as New York City’s largest residential real estate entity.
“So much has changed in 20 years,” Liebman said. “It’s now about marketing and using the Web. And brokers are now running a business within a business. Plus, many young people are coming into real estate as a first-choice career move. I don’t believe you have to be as socially connected as in the past to be successful in New York real estate.”
With all the demands of leading such a large real estate company, Liebman still manages to find time for humanitarian efforts.
“Pam is a special person,” explained long-time friend Paul Goodman, a New Jersey neighbor. “When my son had leukemia, Pam helped form a foundation to help with researching the illness.”
Liebman also is very competitive and enjoys golf and fly-fishing. Although she takes her cell phone everywhere, she tries to keep the ring to a minimum while on the golf course, Goodman said. “That’s about the best we can do regarding our attempts to have her actually enjoy a vacation and relax.”
Liebman is a member of the Young President’s Organization, a founding board member of the Wipe Out Leukemia Forever Foundation – an institution that raises money to support pediatric leukemia research – and serves on the board of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She is married to Dr. Michael Krouse and is the mother of two young daughters.
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