NEW YORK — A year into his tenure as president and chief executive of Realogy Franchise Group, John Peyton told Inman Connect guests that the company has thrived by hiring real estate outsiders.
Peyton, a former Starwood Hotel executive who earlier this month took on additional responsibilities overseeing the Corcoran and Sotheby’s International Realty Realogy brands, said that in addition to new Realogy Holdings Corp. President and CEO Ryan Schneider, a former Capital One executive, the company in recent years has poached top executives in the marketing and banking industries.
“We wanted to make changes quickly and also send the message that at Realogy we want to have a talent mix of … inside the industry and outside the industry,” Peyton told attendees Tuesday during a CEO Connect panel with Move, Inc. CEO Ryan O’Hara at Carnegie Hall. “We’ve hired people from Barney’s to lead marketing, people from banking and consumer products as well as real estate. I think that balance of perspectives is important.”
“Realogy is an industry leader — the larger market sharer with the five brands combined — and I think that over the years we began to suffer a little bit from the effects of what happens when you’re in that position,” said Peyton, who replaced RFG CEO Alex Perriello. “We had leaders who were in place for a very long time, and you can get a little comfortable. I think the beginning of becoming a disrupter as an established player is bringing in people from the outside who can ask questions because they don’t have a connection to what happened in the past — just the ability to ask, ‘Why are we doing it that way?’ makes a really big difference.”
Peyton said that looking outside the real estate industry for new recruits has helped the company focus on other nascent opportunities like technology, data and analytics.
“We didn’t need another real estate expert, because we have [real estate experts],” said Peyton of the CEO slot filled by Schneider. “What we needed was someone who could focus on what we think the opportunity is. And that’s technology, data and analytics. We’re sitting on millions and millions and millions of records of data that we can use to make our agents more productive and more profitable, and we’ve filled the very top slot with an expert in that field.”
In early January, Schneider, who was named to replace Richard Smith late last year, announced the promotions of six executives at parent company Realogy Holdings Corp., as well as several of the company’s 12 business units, including Cartus, Corcoran and Sotheby’s International Realty.
Beside Schneider and Peyton, the executives promoted included Ryan Gorman, who was named president and chief executive officer of NRT, replacing Bruce Zipf, who, alongside former Cartus CEO Kevin Kelleher, will now serve as executive advisor to Schneider. Dave Gordon, a 20-year veteran of the tech industry, was also appointed as chief technology officer.
“I was hired because of my franchising background and I guess what was unique for me were two things: I had to learn the business of real estate, and I got a lot of feedback.” said Peyton, who served as chief marketing officer at Starwood Hotels before joining Realogy in 2016.