Albert Sussman, former executive vice president of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), passed away on Tuesday after a brief illness. Sussman was 88. A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday at the Plaza Chapel in New York City.

Sussman was hired as the association’s first employee on Jan. 1, 1958, and remained its only employee for some time. Sussman continued to lead the organization as executive vice president until his retirement in 1986, after 28 years of service. Sussman remained active in ICSC as an ex-officio member of ICSC’s Board of Trustees until the time of his death.

When Sussman joined ICSC in 1958 the association was less than a year old and had only 75 members. Today, ICSC boasts more than 48,000 members in 77 countries.

Under Sussman’s guidance, ICSC helped bring the shopping center industry together as one cohesive entity. During his tenure, ICSC published the Recommended Lease Form, which provided guidelines for renting space in shopping centers to landlords. Parking Requirements for Shopping Centers, a joint publication of ICSC and the Urban Land Institute, helped determined the ratio of parking spaces needed for a shopping center.

By the time he retired from his position, Sussman had helped develop many of the current services ICSC continues to offer today. Some of these include Idea Exchanges, the Spring Convention, government relations programs, professional accreditation, ICSC’s European expansion and Shopping Centers Today magazine.

In 1995, ICSC honored Sussman for his dedicated service by naming its research library after him. Currently, the Albert Sussman Library print collection contains more than 1,400 volumes, as well as other documents, industry reports and surveys, annual reports and general business reference material.

Throughout his career, Sussman was recognized for his outstanding commitment to the industry. In 1986, in Sussman’s honor the shopping center industry endowed The Albert Sussman Chair in Real Estate at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a frequent lecturer. He also received a Fellowship Award and teaching award from MIT, and was honored by the British Council of Shopping Centers in 1985. Sussman also received an award from the Save Our Children Foundation and was an original advisory board member for the Wharton Real Estate School.

"Though there have been a great many visionaries throughout the history of the shopping center industry, no one man will be remembered quite like Albert Sussman for his zest, foresight and belief that the free exchange of ideas enables an industry to grow and prosper," said Michael Kercheval, ICSC’s president and CEO. "His commitment and service to the shopping center industry will never be forgotten."

Sussman is survived by his sons Bernard and Daniel and three grandchildren.