Jodie McLean started her business career at age 6, delivering eggs to neighbors from her parents’ home in rural Geneva, Ill., about one hour west of Chicago.
“It was very collections-focused,” she said, laughing inEdens’ immaculate new offices on the 9th, 10th and 11th floors of the Main & Gervais building, across the street from the State House in Columbia. “We had no bad debt in the egg route at all.”
On July 1, McLean will become chief executive of Edens, the Columbia-born commercial real estate firm that is one of the largest shopping center owners and operators on the East Coast, and now Texas. She has been with the company for 25 years.
The appointment to take over the reins of the company from current CEO Terry Brown makes her one of the most influential women in commercial real estate and Edens’ first woman in the top post.
Of the 222 domestic corporate members of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, the association’s tally shows six have female chief executives, or 2.7 percent.
“It is extremely rare,” said the organization’s Sharmion Kerley. “It’s a handful when you are talking about major players.”
McLean, 46, and her husband, Pierre DeLucy, plan to move from Columbia to the $5.5 billion company’s Washington office, where most of its senior executives have been located since 2001. Washington is also where the company has it largest portfolio of holdings, she said.
McLean, who is president and chief investment officer, spends three days a week there now. She plans to appoint a chief operations officer, chief investment officer and chief development officer to absorb her prior duties in Washington.
“I’m going to hire three people to replace me,” she said.
McLean, a 1990 University of South Carolina Honors College graduate, said Edens will continue to have a significant presence in Columbia, where it was founded in 1966. The company remains committed to the city and South Carolina, she said.
The approximately 100 jobs Edens has here will remain, consisting primarily of finance, accounting, human resources and Southeast real estate teams, McLean said.
“Our senior team will primarily be located in D.C., but some of our most senior officers, including Chief Financial Officer Mark Garside and Chief Accounting Officer Chris Kopecky, will remain in Columbia.” she said.
McLean came to Columbia in 1986 to attend the South Carolina Honors College because her godfather was Jim Holderman, who was then USC president.
Her first job was at Edens after working with founder Joe Edens on an entrepreneurial project. She took a job with the firm when she completed her undergraduate degree.
“Edens was my grad school,” she said.
CEO Jodie McLean
The Illinois native and USC grad will become the new chief executive of Edens on July 1.
Hometown: Geneva, Ill.
Family: Husband Pierre DeLucy and four children
Education: South Carolina Honors College at USC
Started at Edens: June 11, 1990