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Irvine Co.'s McKee Gets Promotion

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Mike D. McKee, executive vice president and chief financial officer of the Irvine Co. for the last three years, was promoted to vice chairman, the giant land developer said Friday. McKee, 53, will become more involved in the company’s strategic planning and development efforts. The Irvine Co., owned and controlled by billionaire Donald Bren, is by far Orange County’s biggest developer with 50,000 acres, or about one-fifth of the county.

The company is developing two master-planned communities and the 5,000-acre Irvine Spectrum business park, and it has huge apartment, office, retail and industrial holdings. It also has residential and commercial holdings in San Diego County and Northern California.

McKee, who lives in Laguna Beach, wasn’t available for comment Friday. Bren said in a prepared statement that the promotion underscores the growing importance of finance in the company, which is seeking to strengthen its financial base and broaden its access to global capital for long-term growth.

McKee joins Ray Watson, who also holds the title of vice chairman. Watson is a longtime Irvine Co. executive who was one of the principal designers of Irvine, the world’s largest master-planned community. Watson also is a former president of the company.

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Watson is considered a traditional vice chairman in his advisory role to Bren. McKee will be involved in more operational duties. McKee also will continue to be the company’s top executive in charge of finance and corporate administration.

Watson said McKee’s promotion should not be taken to mean that he has become Bren’s heir apparent. “I don’t think you should read into this promotion as a stepping stone for him,” Watson said. “Donald has a long way to before he gives up the reins of the company.”

McKee joined the Irvine Co. five years ago as an executive vice president and moved up quickly through the ranks. He also has served as chief legal officer.

McKee played a pivotal role spinning off Irvine Apartment Communities into a separate publicly held company in 1994, and again earlier this year when Bren took the apartment concern private.

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Before joining the Irvine Co. in April 1994, McKee was the managing partner of the Orange County office of the Latham & Watkins law firm, where he specialized in corporate finance and investment banking issues.

He represented the Irvine Co. on several occasions, including the company’s sale of its Community Cablevision to Times-Mirror Co., which publishes the Los Angeles Times.

From 1979 to 1984, McKee provided legal counsel to the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee on sponsorship, merchandise and venue matters.


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