During a recent conference call, a securities analyst asked Craig Macnab, the new chief executive of Commercial Net Lease Realty if the Orlando, Fla.-based REIT was on the auction block? Macnab said he was not considering a sale, but the question was hardly farfetched.

Macnab, who joined CNL Realty in February, has a reputation as a fixer. In 2000, he became CEO of JDN Realty, an Atlanta-based developer that faced shaky finances and shareholder lawsuits. Macnab strengthened the balance sheet and sold the company in 2003 to Developers Diversified Realty.

At CNL Realty, Macnab faces less formidable problems. The Orlando REIT boasts a solid balance sheet and has increased its dividend annually for 14 years. But earnings per share have only risen to $1.13 in 2003 from $1.10 in 1998. “This company is like a car that needs a tune-up,” says Jeffrey Donnelly, director of real estate equity research for Wachovia Capital Markets. “It doesn't need a new engine, but it does need to run a bit better.”

The CEO must also help the company adjust to personnel changes. James Seneff, relinquished the CEO title when Macnab arrived but stayed on as chairman. Then two top executives departed: Gary Ralston, president and COO, retired, while David Cobb, chief investment officer, moved to BentleyForbes in L.A.

Macnab assumed the title of president, and the company said that it had no plans to fill the position of chief investment officer.