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Company: CNL Financial Group, Inc. Orlando, FL
Entry Submitted By: RLF Communications
Company Description: CNL Financial Group, Inc. (CNL) is one of the nation’s largest privately held real estate investment and development companies. CNL is a sponsor of a wide array of investment products. Since its inception in 1973, CNL and its affiliates have formed or acquired companies with more than $23 billion in assets.
Nomination Category: Company Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Best Overall Company

Nomination Title: CNL Financial Group, Inc.

  1. Tell the story about what this nominated company achieved since January 1 2007 (up to 500 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

    CNL Financial Group took a contrarian stance in 2007, selling almost $15 
    billion in assets at market highs, diversified its product offerings, and
    entered long-term global partnerships with one of the world’s largest and most-
    respected real estate services companies.

    This ability to read the market, to look around the corner and see
    what’s “next,” has been a hallmark of CNL throughout its 35-year history.

    In February 2007, the company witnessed the sale of its restaurant REIT
    Trustreet Properties, Inc.,which CNL originally formed in 1995, to GE Capital
    Solutions, for $3 billion. In April 2007, CNL announced its biggest transaction
    to date, the sale of CNL Hotels & Resorts, Inc., to a fund managed by Morgan
    Stanley Real Estate, for $6.6

    At the same time, the company raised more than $1 billion from investors to
    expand its remaining businesses and launch several new business initiatives.

    CNL Income Properties (now CNL Lifestyle Properties), grew from about $1
    billion in assets to nearly $2 billion in assets, becoming one of the biggest
    owners of ski resorts, gated attractions and golf courses in the country. In
    February 2007, CNL launched CNL Commercial Real Estate (CCRE), a full-service
    real estate services and investment company, (CCRE grew from 12 employees to 40
    in its first year and ended the year with $232 million in assets under
    management). CNL expanded globally, by joining with CB Richard Ellis, LLC to
    market the CB Richard Ellis Realty Trust a real estate investment trust that
    seeks to invest in income-producing properties in major metropolitan areas of
    the United States, Western Europe and Asia.

    CNL also launched the Global Real Estate Fund, an open end mutual fund that
    invests in listed real estate companies worldwide. The fund is sub-advised by CB
    Richard Ellis Global Real Estate Securities, LLC, which is the real estate
    securities arm of CB Richard Ellis Investors, the global investment management
    subsidiary of CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc. Another CNL operating company, CNL
    Real Estate &
    Development, laid the groundwork for a residential second-home community in
    North Carolina, and began to shepherd a large mixed use project through the
    regulatory process in Tallahassee.

    In addition to an ongoing charitable commitment to education for the
    underserved, leadership development and the arts, the CNL Charitable
    Foundation, a nonprofit affiliate, donated $10 million to help build the Dr. P.
    Phillips Orlando Performing Arts Center. Top company executives also served on
    the Regional Commission on Homelessness, helping to end homelessness in Central
    Florida within 10 years. The foundation also donated $100,000 to that cause.

    Since 2002, CNL has provided more than $4 million in scholarships to help pay
    for tuition and books for 1,182 at-risk students. The company also supports Jeb
    Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education and is helping to sponsor a
    national summit on educational reform to be held in Orlando during the summer
    of 2008.

    By valuing quality over quantity, valuing relationships over transactions,
    protecting the downside and focusing on underserved and undercapitalized
    markets, never losing sight of its core values, CNL grew from a single piece of
    undervalued downtown Orlando real estate purchased in 1973, to a diversified,
    global real estate enterprise that has started or acquired companies valued at
    more than $23 billion in assets. Now in its 35th year of business, CNL has
    sustained its entrepreneurial spirit, while using its resources to better the
    communities where it does business.

  2. List hyperlinks to any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that support the claims made in the section above. IMPORTANT: Begin each link with http://, and enclose each link in square brackets; for example, []:

  3. Provide a brief (up to 100 words) biography about the leader of this nominated company:

    James M. Seneff, Jr. is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of 
    CNL. Seneff founded CNL in 1973 and has guided the company over the past 35
    years. Seneff is chairman of the board of Trustreet Properties Inc. Seneff is a
    former member and past chairman of the State of Florida Investment Advisory
    Council. Currently, Seneff serves as chairman of the Governor’s Council for the
    Economic Development Commission and vice chairman of the board of directors for
    the Orlando Performing Arts Center. He is a graduate of Florida State
    University with a B.S. in Business Administration.

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