Former Capital One exec Ryan Schneider will replace Richard Smith as CEO of real estate giant Realogy, effective December 31, 2017, the company announced today.

The industry power player that owns an array of major real estate brands has been focused on CEO succession planning to find a candidate to be Smith’s successor since the first quarter of this year, according to SEC filings.

Ryan M. Schneider will become Realogy’s Chief Executive Officer, effective December 31, 2017. (PRNewsfoto/Realogy Holdings Corp.)

Schneider, a real estate industry outsider, comes to Realogy after nearly 15 years of senior leadership experience at Capital One, where he ran the company’s largest business — the card division — overseeing Capital One’s consumer and business credit card lines in the U.S. and managing a staff of more than 10,000.

He’s credited with nearly doubling the card division’s assets to $90 billion through organic growth and acquisitions, a skill that would be valued at a company where growth has been slipping.

“I am thrilled with the opportunity to join Realogy in this leadership capacity because I am convinced of the strength of its fully integrated business model, the quality of its people, the foundation for growth that it has built, the capacity it has for accelerating its growth based on new ways to use data, analytics and technology, and the unique advantages that Realogy can leverage in an industry that generated over $70 billion in commissions last year,” Schneider said in a statement. “Realogy benefits from a portfolio of many of the industry’s best-known brands, and as the leader in U.S. existing home sales, the Company’s scale and resources are unmatched in the industry.”

Effective Oct. 24, Schneider is taking over Smith’s duties as Realogy’s President and COO and will join its board of directors before he assumes the role of CEO at the close of this year. At the same time, Michael J. Williams, Realogy’s Lead Independent Director, will succeed Smith as Chairman of the company’s Board of Directors.

Schneider will earn a base salary of $1 million in addition to $5 million in stocks and eligibility for an annual cash bonus, according to an SEC filing detailing the terms of his employment.

Smith is retiring after a long, largely successful run. He spent 21 years building Realogy’s business operations and leading the company through a number of milestones including a public offering in 2012 and the acquisition of ZipRealty in 2014.

Realogy owns a number of large real estate franchisors, including Coldwell Banker, Century21, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate and Sotheby’s International Realty. The announcement of a new leader at the top comes after the company underwent an executive shakeup at multiple levels of the business, seemingly as an effort to reignite growth.

“As we look to the future and the Company’s next phase of growth, I believe now is the right time to transition to new leadership, and Ryan Schneider is ideally suited to lead Realogy forward,” Smith said. “I was initially prepared to stay on into 2018 to help facilitate a transition of responsibilities, but I am so confident in Ryan’s proven leadership abilities and the Company’s clear strategic growth plans that I believe now is the right time to accelerate my retirement to the end of this year.

“In the interim, I am committed to working closely with Ryan in his new role and the Board to ensure a seamless transition.”

The big question now: what does Schneider’s version of the company look like, and how will it differ from Smith’s?

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional details.

Email Caroline Feeney

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