Chevy Chase Land Co. abruptly ousts chief executive

David M. Smith, chief executive of the Chevy Chase Land Co. and great-great grandson of the company’s founder, was ousted by the company’s board of directors last week, a company spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday.

The removal came without warning for the 125-year-old company, a private, family-owned firm that became one of the oldest and largest developers in Montgomery County.

Chevy Chase Land Co. spokeswoman Miti Figueredo issued a brief statement saying that the board “appreciates David’s many contributions to the company over his more than 20 years of loyal service, and offers him its sincere best wishes for success in his future endeavors.”

Figueredo declined to give a reason for Smith’s departure. She said in an interview that the company was performing well.

“The company is strong. The company is continuing to operate as usual. Everything is running smoothly,” she said.

The news was reported earlier this week by Bethesda Magazine. By Wednesday afternoon, Smith’s photograph and biography had been removed from the company’s Web site.

With was no succession plan in place the board chair, Kate W. Carr, former president of Cardinal Bank, was named the company’s interim chief executive while the board begins a search for a new executive.

Smith could not immediately be reached for comment. He is the great-great grandson of the company’s founder, former Sen. Francis G. Newlands, of Nevada, and served as president since 2008.

Carr did not return multiple messages on her cell phone. Other members of the board did not return phone calls or declined to comment when reached.

Chevy Chase Land Co. owns some 1.5 million square feet of commercial real estate, most of it office and retail properties located in or around Bethesda and Chevy Chase. Its most active work recently has been on the planned redevelopment of two shopping centers along Connecticut Avenue in the Chevy Chase Lake neighborhood.

Under Smith, the company has also been one of the county’s strongest advocates for the Purple Line light rail system, which would service some of the company’s properties.

Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter: @oconnellpostbiz

Jonathan O'Connell has covered land use and development in the Washington area for more than five years.
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Jonathan O'Connell · August 27, 2014