Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a comment by ZipRealty CEO Lanny Baker.
The ZipRealty executive who leads the company’s "Powered by Zip" division, which provides a dozen partner brokerages with leads and customer relationship management tools, is moving to a consulting position.
Genni Combes, who joined ZipRealty’s management team in 2004 and currently serves as senior vice president of corporate development, signed a consulting agreement on Monday, the company disclosed in a regulatory filing. Combes will remain in her position until no later than April 1, and then become a consultant earning $6,000 a month.
It’s the latest management change in the wake of a tumultuous period for the Emeryville, Calif.-based high tech brokerage. After expanding in 10 new markets in 2007 — just as the housing downturn was taking hold — ZipRealty was forced to contract as losses began to mount.
In 2011, the company instituted a series of cost-cutting measures, which ultimately resulted in the company shutting down brokerage operations in 15 of 35 markets. The company launched its "Powered by Zip" referral network the same year, and is providing leads generated by ZipRealty.com to other brokerages in at least a dozen markets.
Having retooled its website and mobile apps and introduced a new version of its "ZAP" agent platform, ZipRealty recently disclosed that it expects to report positive adjusted earnings for 2012, with net revenue for the year of $73 million to $74 million.
Former Foxtons North America CEO Van Davis also came aboard last year as president of brokerage operations. Another recent hire, Adam Lerman, is in charge of national recruiting, leading a staff of 23 local recruiters.
In a statement, Baker called Combes’ planned departure "the latest management change in an ongoing evolution," noting that ZipRealty is growing brokerage revenue for the first time in more than three years.
"ZipRealty is now actively searching for an experienced software and technology executive to lead its rapidly growing Powered by Zip unit, and Genni Combes, who developed and launched the company’s Powered by Zip technology licensing business, will continue to serve as a consultant and advise the company and its (Powered by Zip) clients as ZipRealty builds out a full team to support its (Powered by Zip) growth vehicle," Baker said.
Combes joined Zillow in September 2004 as senior vice president of financial planning and operations. She became senior vice president of technology and operational strategy in January, 2009, before taking on her current role in July 2011.
With Combes’ departure, Vice President of Technology Jamie Wilson, who has been with the company since 2000, and Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary Samantha Harnett, who joined the company in 2005, will be the company’s longest-serving executives.
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