(Adds details, background on mall industry) (Adds details, background on mall industry)
April 19 (Reuters) - Macerich Co said on Thursday Chief Executive Arthur Coppola will retire at year-end, capping a 25-year stint at the helm of the U.S. shopping mall operator.
The board of directors has begun a search for a new CEO, Macerich said.
Coppola will also step down as chairman, and will be succeeded by Macerich board member Steven Hash.
Coppola's departure comes at a time when shopping malls are increasingly pressured by a downturn in the brick-and-mortar retail industry as more people shop online.
Macerich rejected a $16.8 billion bid from rival Simon Property Group Inc in 2015 and has struggled since then. Its stock has declined some 36 percent from an August 2016 high.
The company also faces a challenge from activist hedge fund Starboard Value LP, which nominated directors to Macerich's board earlier this month. Starboard may replace the majority of Macerich's 10-member board, sources told Reuters. (Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Sai Sachin Ravikumar)