Bushell departs DASNY after boosting its bond business
Gerrard Bushell, under whose leadership the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York was the nation’s No. 1 municipal bond issuer, is departing after four and a half years heading the conduit.
Bushell, who was appointed DASNY CEO and president by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in April 2015, announced in a statement Monday morning he is resigning effective Wednesday. During his tenure, DASNY sold $35 billion of bonds. DASNY led the nation in municipal borrowing in 2018 with $9.5 billion. For the 2019 fiscal year that ended March 31, DASNY broke its previous financing record set in 2016 by closing approximately $8.7 billion in bond issues.
“Today, as I prepare to leave DASNY, we have purposefully built a mission-driven public benefit corporation focused on efficiency, growth, and impact,” said Bushell in his statement. “We streamlined and strengthened DASNY’s conduit issuance business to ensure that we continue to effectively provide our not-for-profit clients with timely access to low-cost, tax-exempt and taxable financing.”
In his statement, Bushell attributed much of DASNY’s recent success to a late 2015 overhaul of its borrowing process to enable quicker market access for issuers with at least a single-A rating. The policy, which was implemented after a monthslong listening tour, enabled DASNY to add more business in the education and healthcare sectors while enhancing services for existing clients, according to Bushell.
Proactive efforts under Bushell to help DASNY stay ahead of the curve also included bolstering alternative procurement methods to expedite infrastructure projects that have contributed to a construction pipeline of 1,050 projects valued at roughly $6.9 billion. DASNY’s first design-build contract for a $21 million residence hall at SUNY-Brockport was completed in just 13 months last year. The agency has also introduced other service offerings including hybrid financing along with a new combination of energy performance contracting and tax-exempt equipment leasing.
“DASNY has evolved to respond to the structural changes underway in higher education and healthcare and evolving capital and infrastructure needs across the state,” Bushell said. “We now know more about our clients’ short-term and long-term plans and needs, are better at anticipating and serving those needs, and are clearly explaining our services and capabilities.”
Bushell also noted the strides made toward fostering more diversity inside and outside of the agency. During the 2019 fiscal year, DASNY’s cumulative expenditures with minority and women-owned business enterprises exceeded $179 million, representing 33% of total contracts, surpassing Cuomo's goal of 30% MWBE participation. Bushell also helped establish a Public Finance Diversity Fellowship aimed at boosting diversity within the municipal bond industry.
“Under his leadership, DASNY has led the nation as No.1 bond issuer twice and continues to be among its top builders," the authority said in a statement. "We thank him for his years of public service, and for setting DASNY on the path to future success. We wish him the best on the next phase of his journey.”
Prior to his arrival at DASNY, Bushell was a senior relationship advisor for BNY Mellon's alternative and traditional investment management businesses. His previous experience in state government involved working as a senior officer to former Comptroller Carl McCall. He has also held senior advisory roles at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Arden Asset Management and Legg Mason affiliate ClearBridge Advisors.
DASNY is slated to issue three transactions this week totaling more than $632 million led by a $310.8 million taxable deal for Rochester Institute of Technology. DASNY, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, was the second largest municipal bond issuer in the first half of this year at $3.4 billion, according to Refinitiv data, to bring its outstanding debt portfolio up to around $56.7 billion.