Richard Sommer, former CEO for HomeGain, has been hired to serve as the new CEO for ZipRealty and will start work Sept. 6, ZipRealty announced today. He replaces Eric A. Danziger, who stepped down Aug. 1 as ZipRealty president and CEO.

HomeGain, which offers online marketing services for real estate professionals, and ZipRealty, a publicly traded real estate brokerage company, both launched in 1999 and are based in Emeryville, Calif.

“We’re excited to welcome Richard as ZipRealty’s new CEO, as he brings the ideal blend of real estate and executive-level management experience to help pilot the company to its next level of success,” said Don Wood, ZipRealty board chairman, in a statement.

ZipRealty president, Gary Beasley, said, “Richard is a proven executive and established innovator, and we are looking forward to his taking the helm and infusing the company with his energy, passion and vision for the future of our brand.”

“ZipRealty has maintained its role as a leading real estate brokerage by blending a high level of customer service with great technology,” Sommer said in a statement. “I’m honored and thrilled to join the professionals at ZipRealty and look forward to helping the company continue to grow and succeed.”

In 2004 Sommer joined HomeGain, an online marketing company that offers services for real estate professionals, and he oversaw the company’s sale to Classified Ventures LLC last year. HomeGain was founded by Inman News publisher Bradley Inman.

Sommer remained HomeGain CEO after the sale and also served as president and general manager of the real estate division of Classified Ventures, where he oversaw the operations of HomeGain and Homescape.

Tim Fagan took over as president for Classified Ventures real estate operations upon Sommer’s departure.

Sommer, 45, has seen many sides of the real estate industry. He has served as senior vice president of business development for the mortgage-banking unit at IndyMac Bank and as president and managing director of International Real Estate Operations for

At, Sommer assisted the National Association of Realtors in financing and establishing the formation of the International Consortium of Real Estate Associations, a group of 23 real estate associations that promotes professional standards for the industry.

He also served on the board of directors for E-Realtor, a real estate transaction platform.

Prior to that, Sommer had experience in the healthcare industry. He was co-founder, president and CEO of Accordus, a technology company serving the healthcare products industry and was founder, president and CEO of De La Cruz Occupational Healthcare, an occupational medical provider to the electronics industry.

Sommer was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, where he earned a master’s degree in international relations. He graduated from Princeton University cum laude and earned a bachelor’s degree in politics. He also received a law degree from Stanford Law School.

A big man, Sommer is sometimes mistaken for a professional wrestler. His musical interests range from classical to hip-hop. He was born in Indianapolis, Ind., and his first job was working with Rev. Jesse Jackson in a social justice program in Chicago called operation PUSH (People United to Serve Humanity).

ZipRealty, which offers discounts to home sellers and rebates to home buyers is a full-service residential real estate brokerage company that has operations in 19 metro areas in 12 states and Washington, D.C.

The company’s stock (Nasdaq: ZIPR) was trading at $6.14 per share as of 10:09 a.m. EST today after opening the day at $6.10 per share. The price per share has ranged from $5.81 to $14.49 over the past year.

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