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Cornellians in Private Equity

Michael Medzigian

B.S. '82

Chairman and Managing Partner
Watermark Capital (Lake Forest, IL)


Mr. Medzigian is Chairman and Managing Partner of Watermark Capital Partners, LLC, a real estate investment management firm, and is also President, Chief Executive Officer and a Director of Carey Watermark Investors Inc., a publicly-registered Real Estate Investment Trust. His activities are focused on complex assets that benefit from demographic shifts, strategic marketing, and value-creation and repositioning initiatives, including hotels and resorts, golf and recreation, resort residential, fractional and club programs, and new-urbanism and mixed-use projects. Over his career he has successfully overseen over $13 billion of real estate investments and has delivered superior risk-adjusted returns to his investors.

Prior to the formation of Watermark Capital Partners and Carey Watermark Investors, Mr. Medzigian oversaw some of the largest real estate private equity funds in the world. Most recently he was President and Chief Executive Officer of Lazard Freres Real Estate Investors and a Managing Director of Lazard where he was recruited to oversee the repositioning of a real estate opportunity fund operation including five discretionary equity funds with $3 billion of committed capital and a $7 billion portfolio of holdings in the U.S. and Europe that included ownership in 12 operating companies in the office, industrial, retail, lodging, senior living, homebuilding, multifamily, condominium, and land development sectors; and ownership in a provider of mezzanine, structured debt and net lease finance. While at Lazard, Mr. Medzigian chaired the Investment Committees for each of the Lazard Real Estate Funds. He was previously a Founding Partner of Olympus Real Estate Corporation, the real estate fund management affiliate of Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst, which during his tenure, successfully invested over $3 billion in a broad range of real estate holdings. At Olympus he served on the Investment Committee and was involved with all aspects of multiple real estate funds that invested in equity and debt positions in a broad range of real estate property types and developments. Additionally he invested in and directly oversaw an extensive portfolio of lodging assets that included, among others, such properties as the Boca Raton Resort & Club, the Cheeca Lodge & Spa, the Inn at Laguna Beach, La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa, the Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage, the Algonquin, Equinox Resort & Spa, and the Fairmont Copley Plaza, as well as lodging operating companies that included RockResorts, Park Plaza International and Chalet Susse. Earlier in his career, Mr. Medzigian was President of Cohen Realty Services, a Chicago-based real estate investment services firm responsible for a $2 billion portfolio of assets and mortgages, he founded and was National Director of the Hospitality Consulting Practice at Deloitte & Touche, and he held various management positions with Marriott Corporation.


Mr. Medizigian received a B.S. in Hotel Administration from Cornell University.

Board Affiliations

Mr. Medzigian has served as Chairman and a Director of Atria, Inc., Chairman and a Director of Kapson Senior Quarters Corp., President, CEO and a Director of Park Plaza International, President, CEO and a Director of RockResorts, and as a Director of American Apartment Communities, the American Seniors Housing Association, Arnold Palmer Golf Management, the Assisted Living Federation of America, Dermody Properties, iStar Financial (NYSE: SFI, including serving on its audit and compensation committees), Kemayan Hotels and Leisure (Australian ASX), and the Rubenstein Company. He is or has been a member of the Pension Real Estate Association, the Radisson Hotels & Resorts Franchise Advisory Committee, the Urban Land Institute (Chairman, Hotel Development Council), and Young President's Organization (Executive Committee Member). He is active with his alma mater serving on the Cornell University Council, on the Dean's Advisory Board for the School of Hotel Administration, as a Founding Member of the Cornell Center for Real Estate Finance Industry Fellows, on the Advisory Committee of the Cornell Innovation Network and as a member of the Cornell Hotel Society and the Cornell Real Estate Council. He has also been on the panel of judges of the Hospitality Design Radical Innovation competition each year since its inception.