Rafael E. Cestero Named President & CEO of The Community Preservation Corporation

Career Leader in Affordable Housing in Both Public and Private Sectors Will Succeed Michael Lappin

Rafael E. Cestero, former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, has been named by the Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) Board of Directors to serve as President and CEO of the non-profit organization and its for-profit development subsidiary, CPC Resources, Inc., it was announced today by Michael Hegarty, Board Chairman.

Mr. Cestero, 43, succeeds Michael Lappin, who announced his retirement last November after leading the company for 31 years. CPC, created in 1974 to stem a tide of abandonment in New York City, has financed the preservation and development of nearly 144,000 affordable housing units involving public and private investments of approximately $8 billion. Mr. Cestero’s appointment is effective January 17th

“Rafael is the ideal candidate to head CPC given his exceptional depth of knowledge and wide-ranging leadership role in the affordable housing field,” said Mr. Hegarty, who is also Senior Advisor, CCMP Capital Advisors. “He brings a valued perspective with outstanding credentials in the public, private and non-profit sectors, underscored by impressive, results-oriented experience. His creativity and unstinting commitment to affordable housing make him a perfect choice in these challenging times to build on Mike Lappin’s extraordinary legacy and record of achievement.”

Mr. Cestero said: “For anyone passionately concerned about affordable housing, New York’s neighborhoods and our housing infrastructure, leading CPC presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The mission of CPC to provide affordable housing and a reliable source of capital for our housing stock has never been more important.  I am looking forward to working closely with Mike Hegarty, the board and the talented CPC staff to build on CPC’s impressive record of accomplishment.”

Shaun Donovan, Secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, said: “I worked for Mike Lappin at CPC in my first job after graduate school and learned so much from him. Today dozens of neighborhoods in New York City that were written off in the city’s darkest hours decades ago are vibrant and thriving thanks to Mike and CPC.  I wish him all the best as he leaves CPC and I’m delighted that CPC’s leadership will continue in such strong hands with Rafael Cestero taking the helm. I have worked with Rafael over many years and I know firsthand his tremendous passion for affordable housing, community development and the people whose lives are transformed by that work.  With his experience and skill in affordable housing financing Rafael is a perfect choice to meet the challenges ahead.”

Mathew M. Wambua, Commissioner, New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, said: “Rafael Cestero knows the landscape, the developers, the government and non-governmental partners, how deals work, and how to get things done. He’s creative and driven — most important, he has an abiding passion for the creation and preservation of affordable housing, having worked in this field all of his life. CPC and the City are both exceptionally fortunate to have him aboard in this key role.  I look forward to working side-by-side with him again in his new role.”

“I’ve had the great pleasure of working with Rafael in the past, and I look forward to once again working with him in the future,” said Marc Jahr, President of the City’s Housing Development Corporation.  “I know he will bring the same creative and responsible leadership to his important new position, and that will benefit both CPC and communities across the city.”

Mr. Cestero most recently held the position of Managing Director of L+M Development Partners, a private sector developer of affordable and market rate housing where he was instrumental in efforts to expand nationally and restructure the property management business. “I would like to thank my friends at L+M, particularly chairman Ron Moelis for his unwavering support and counsel during this process,” Mr. Cestero said.

Mr. Cestero was appointed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) in February of 2009 and served as Commissioner until April 2011.  As Commissioner, Rafael launched a number of important initiatives, including the updated New Housing Marketplace Plan, a $750 million initiative to stabilize distressed multi-family properties and a Proactive Preservation Program.

Prior to being appointed Commissioner, Mr. Cestero served as the Deputy Commissioner of Development at HPD from 2004-2007 and worked for Enterprise Community Partners for 15 years in key leadership positions, including director of New York programs, and most recently as senior vice president and chief program officer for the national Enterprise Community Partners.

Mr. Cestero received his Masters degree in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his undergraduate degree in Public Policy Analysis from Cornell University.


Contact: Eric Bederman, VP/Communications
212-895-5300, ext. 482 ebederman@communityp.com