Ledbetter, the longtime Rome real estate developer who graduated from Georgia Tech in 1958, endowed the professorship at The Flats in Atlanta with a $1 million gift to the Georgia Tech College of Management in May of 2007.
Branch, who succeeds the late Marshall “Skip” Beebe in the chair at Tech, has more than four decades of experience in the real estate development industry. He has developed, financed or managed more than $10 billion in domestic and international real estate projects.
Beebe died in November of 2011.
R.H. Ledbetter Properties specializes in retail, medical service and medical office developments. His company oversees more than two million square feet of property in Georgia, Tennessee and Indiana.
Ledbetter said the key to being successful in real estate development during the long haul is that you have to be able to anticipate trends in the marketplace and, of course, across the larger economy.
“For college students interested in the real estate development business, the best way for them to start learning is through an experienced developer who has seen it all,” Ledbetter said. “The Professor of the Practice concept is ideal for the field of real estate development and I’m glad to be able to provide that kind of expertise of Tech’s students.”
Branch has served as president and CEO of Dutch International Holding Co., the U.S. affiliate of a massive pension fund based in he Netherlands.
During a 13-year period Branch was with Portman Properties, served as a director of Duke Realty Corporation, the largest publicly traded office and industrial real estate investment trust in the U.S. and in 2005 was a co-founder of the Nancy Creek Capital mezzanine investment fund.
Ledbetter is a former member of the Georgia Tech Foundation Board of Trustees and the College of Management Advisory Board.
Ledbetter Properties developed the Riverbend shopping center on Turner McCall Boulevard, RiverWalk shopping center on Riverside Parkway, Midtown Crossing shopping center on Shorter Avenue and Etowah II shopping center on Hicks Drive in Rome.