Meet the RCS Team
With an experienced team of professionals, RCS adds value at every step of the real estate process. Meet some of the people who have built the successful track record at RCS.
Ivan L. Friedman
President and CEO
Mr. Friedman founded RCS in 1981 to facilitate restructuring strategies for retail companies. Over four decades, he has become widely recognized for his industry leadership and proven track record of successes thanks to his vast retail industry knowledge and experience, foresight of market trends and exceptional negotiating skills. Mr. Friedman spent decades as chairman and CEO of national retail companies, successfully navigating turbulent market cycles. When exorbitant interest rates, inflationary rents and recessionary economic conditions threatened the solvency of many retailers, Mr. Friedman developed an unmatched skill in renegotiating contractual obligations to win the terms necessary for retailers to survive and thrive in difficult market environments. Today, Mr. Friedman remains a driving force behind the success of RCS Real Estate Advisors, working with a team that shares his thorough understanding of and extensive experience in retail real estate.
Executive Vice President
Ms. Mitchell joined RCS in 1991, after holding numerous executive positions in the retail industry. Working with well-known retailers such as Marshalls, Virginia Specialty Stores and Ashley Stewart, she gained deep experience in merchandising, product development, store operations, inventory allocation and strategic planning. Her exceptional skills, across a wide range of business functions retail success, have made her an invaluable member of the RCS team. Ms. Mitchell also has been instrumental in developing vital processes and operational systems to tap the collective knowledge and insights of the entire RCS team, ensuring they find and unlock hidden value for clients.
Spence J. Mehl
Mr. Mehl has played a pivotal role in the growth of RCS and its emergence as the preeminent firm in retail advising. Since joining RCS in 1995, he has worked successfully with some of the largest and most recognized retail clients nationwide, developing close relationships and a reputation as an effective negotiator and an expert in property dispositions. Mr. Mehl previously served as general counsel and real estate director for a national retail chain. In that role, he held principal responsibility for all aspects of retail asset management and development, from strategic planning to site selection and construction through lease negotiations, property dispositions and other elements of asset portfolio optimization. Earlier in his career, Mr. Mehl practiced law in New York, focusing on transactional real estate litigation. He holds a J.D. degree from St. John’s University and a B.A. from Tulane University.
Mitchel S. Friedman
Mr. Friedman serves as the administrative head for RCS, managing all client activity and overseeing business development and corporate strategy. In his lengthy previous time as an investment banker for JPMorgan, he led a regional investment banking team and developed special expertise in identifying and unlocking the hidden value within businesses. He also served as a senior leader for Chase, specializing in trade finance structuring. Mr. Friedman’s understanding of the retail industry, real estate and finance have made him a valued partner for a broad, nationwide client roster. His business acumen helps retailers see more of the possibilities for maximizing the value of their real estate assets, while increasing the size and profitability of store fleets and brand portfolios. He holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Boston University and an M.B.A. from New York University.
Senior Managing Director
Mr. Coury knows the commercial and retail real estate businesses inside and out from 30-plus years of working on the landlord and tenant side of leasing. Mr. Coury joined RCS in early 2019, after spending years as a senior leader at such firms as the Westfield Group, Starwood Retail Partners, Chico’s FAS, the Gap and the Rouse Company. He’s known for his financial acumen, foresight and for providing superior insight into evolving market dynamics. He holds a B.S. in accounting from Villanova University.
Since joining RCS in 2003, Mr. Kiersh has deepened the firm’s negotiating expertise for clients in difficult retail real estate situations. He is widely recognized for his skills in real estate dispositions and lease restructuring. Mr. Kiersh has helped an array of clients capture value from distressed assets and improve the performance of locations. His success is based on working with clients to understand their individual situations, circumstances and business objectives. His ability to act as a partner rather than just a service provider has earned him the trust of clients and the confidence that he serves their best interests. Before joining RCS, Mr. Kiersh founded and spent 25 years as president of the national chain Linen Barn. Home Textiles Today once named him “Retailer of the Year.” He holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Boston University and a J.D. from Suffolk University School of Law.
Mr. Puri has 20-plus years of operational and merchandising-related retail industry management experience in New York and Chicago, including with luxury and specialty chains such as Ann Taylor, Brown Shoe Co. and The Custom Shop. His skills in business analysis and strategic planning, risk and project management and site selection were instrumental in driving the success of each company. Mr. Puri has been tapping his deep experience for the betterment of clients and providing unique insights into the ever-evolving world of retail since joining RCS in 2008. He’s known for his strength collaborating with clients and colleagues alike. He’s earned degrees from University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and Temple University, where he majored in risk management.
With more than 25 years of real estate experience representing national tenant brands across North America, Ms. Fauchald has an extensive background in lease negotiation, site selection and market analysis. Prior to joining RCS, Ms. Fauchald held senior real estate and executive roles at Christopher & Banks, Pacific Sunwear, Wilsons Leather and International Dairy Queen Inc. Ms. Fauchald holds a business degree from the University of Guelph.
Senior Client Coordinator
Ms. Ortiz serves as a senior client coordinator, managing financial, legal and deal tracking tasks during efforts to negotiate on behalf of, grow and restructure clients. Since joining RCS in 2003, her knowledge of restructuring processes and her assistance in helping the firm produce deadline-driven deliverables have been invaluable for clients to their financial and business goals. Ms. Ortiz holds a B.A. in political science from Fordham University.
Senior Client Coordinator
Ms. Haniff’s two decades of experience as a landlord-tenant litigation paralegal has made her an integral piece of the firm’s success. Her top-to-bottom project management duties include assisting with retail lease negotiations, terminations, rent reductions, relocations, downsizing and expansions. She also prepares contractual amendments in accordance with each deal and ensures the amendments are met on behalf of clients. Prior to joining RCS, she served as a manager for Aerosoles. She holds a B.S. in legal studies from John Jay College.
Mr. Mehlman provides vital analysis, research and demographical and geographical insights to help the firm meet the needs of clients as they open new stores, preserve and move existing locations. Mr. Mehlman, who joined RCS in 2020, holds a bachelors from Ithaca College where he double-majored in marketing and business administration and management. Prior to joining RCS, Mr. Mehlman worked in branding and marketing, handling celebrity endorsements and brand-matching.
Ms. Ainnsley oversees a range of administrative tasks for the firm, from scheduling to planning, in addition to assembling contracts, spreadsheets and status sheets. Prior to joining RCS in 2016, she handled administrative duties for a range of retailers, including Loreal, Estée Lauder’s MAC cosmetics division along with Saatchi & Saatchi. She holds a bachelor’s in Spanish with a minor in international studies from Penn State.