David Goldman has been appointed general counsel, corporate secretary, and a member of the executive committee at Skyline International Development Inc. in Toronto.
Reporting to the hotel group’s CEO Michael Sneyd, Goldman has overall responsibility for the company’s legal affairs, working with Skyline’s development and hospitality teams, maintaining Skyline’s corporate books and records plus managing external legal counsel.
“I’m wearing a number of hats,” says Goldman. “I’m not only doing real estate but also handling employment and trademark issues, tax and corporate as well as some litigation and a tremendous amount of contract review.”
Skyline owns over two million square feet of real estate with over 1,000 hotel rooms in its holdings, as well as four Shizen Spa outlets, and employs more than 1,500 staff. Its asset mix includes a partnership and asset management interest in Le Meridien King Edward Hotel, as well as ownership of the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Pantages Hotel. Skyline’s resort assets include Deerhurst Resort in Muskoka, and Horseshoe Resort.
Goldman says he is enjoying the hands on business experience of being in-house at a real estate development company.
“I was told from day one: ‘We want you to be a partner at the table, that’s what we’re looking for in our general counsel.’ And that’s what it really is,” says Goldman. “They value my input at the initial stages of the business transaction. When I was at a firm I would get the agreement of purchase and sale but now I am in at the table discussing the pros and cons of the transaction and all the business terms. I put together the letter of intent with the CEO who I work incredibly closely with on a day-to-day basis. I would never have seen that in private practice. It’s very exciting.”
While he is the only lawyer in Skyline’s in-house department, there is a law clerk assisting him who has been with the company four years. While Skyline does use external counsel, Goldman says his plan is to try and do as much in-house as he can.
“My goal is to reduce expenses for Skyline and I have been. I’ve negotiated and finalized all large contracts since I arrived — I haven’t sent any contractual work out,” he says. “You definitely have to manage expectations but they appreciate the value general counsel brings to the company.”
Goldman worked for four years as in-house counsel and vice president with another smaller real estate development company prior to joining Skyline. He was previously in private legal practice for 20 years where he was a partner at several law firms with his practice covering most areas of real estate law.
He served as the chairman of the Ontario Bar Association real property section and was a member of the executive for nine years. He is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School and has a BA in political science from York University.