Russell Reynolds Associates Welcomes Gemma Burgess as Managing Director

Private CapitalReal Estate
Article Icon Press Release
January 31, 2024
3 min read
Private CapitalReal Estate
Executive Summary
Burgess Joins from Ferguson Partners as Co-Leader of Russell Reynolds Associates’ Global Real Estate Practice.


Chicago, January 31, 2024 – Global leadership advisory firm Russell Reynolds Associates (RRA) announced today the appointment of Gemma Burgess as a managing director to join Deb Barbanel as co-lead of the global real estate practice. Gemma will be jointly based in RRA’s New York and Chicago offices.

Having most recently served as CEO and vice chairman at Ferguson Partners, a boutique executive search and consulting firm, Burgess brings 20 years of search and consulting experience to her clients in private equity, investment management, real estate investment trust (REIT), structured finance, hedge funds and investment banking. Prior to her 16-year tenure at Ferguson Partners, she handled non-executive appointments at Hanson Green and worked in executive search at Ramsey Hall.

“We welcome Gemma and the experience she brings to the Russell Reynolds team,” said Constantine Alexandrakis, CEO, Russell Reynolds Associates. “With her wealth of knowledge across international markets and both institutional and non-institutional capital in the global real estate industry, we look forward to what we can accomplish under her leadership alongside Deb Barbanel’s in this complex and expanding industry.”

Burgess is passionate about promoting ethnic, gender, and socio-economic diversity, having participated in some of the world’s most prominent corporate diversity initiatives and conferences, including developing diversity partnerships with key real estate groups such as the Real Estate Executive Council (REEC).

“Having Gemma as part of Russell Reynolds’ leadership team brings innovative thinking and well-developed insights to our teammates and clients in the real estate sector and beyond. With her experience and expertise, we are well positioned in the new year to navigate the ever-changing global real estate landscape and together drive business growth,” said Deb Barbanel, co-leader of Russell Reynolds Associates’ global real estate practice.

“I am ready to hit the ground running to help clients navigate the dynamic, challenging real estate environment,” said Gemma Burgess. “My experience, combined with the team’s functional expertise and industry knowledge across private markets, strongly positions us to advise the world’s top real estate industry leaders.”

About Russell Reynolds Associates

Russell Reynolds Associates is a global leadership advisory firm. Our 500+ consultants in 47 offices work with public, private, and nonprofit organizations across all industries and regions. We help our clients build teams of transformational leaders who can meet today’s challenges and anticipate the digital, economic, sustainability, and political trends that are reshaping the global business environment. From helping boards with their structure, culture, and effectiveness to identifying, assessing and defining the best leadership for organizations, our teams bring their decades of expertise to help clients address their most complex leadership issues. We exist to improve the way the world is led.