NEW YORK — Leveraging untapped real estate data and enhancing the agent experience across a litany of brands will take center stage as Realogy battles for market share against a growing army of tech-enabled competitors, the company’s CEO Ryan Schneider said in his first public comments since taking the reins this month.
Amidst a corporate restructuring in which no fewer than six top-level executives shifts have been made since Jan. 1, the former Capital One executive said Thursday that data across a dozen business units — nascent, but purportedly greater in size than any of its competitors — could soon be deployed to deliver a coterie of new products and services, for the benefit of Realogy’s estimated 286,000 sales associates.
“I picked Realogy as opposed to coming in a different way because I actually believe that the power of having that technology and data at scale is actually more powerful in most industries than just being a pure disrupter starting from nothing,” Schneider said Thursday during a talk at Inman Connect New York. “It’s incredibly expensive to build and scale a national business, and Realogy’s got market-leading positions in both owned-brokerage and franchise.”
Separately, Schneider indicated that ZapLabs, the 1-year-old corporate IT group launched to streamline and modernize the company’s legacy technology, would also continue to be a hub for innovation, but insisted during the Inman Connect talk that the division represented only a piece of the corporate strategy.
“Zap’s only a piece of the puzzle,” said Schneider, who in addition to his background in finance boasts a background in technology and holds a PhD in economics. “That’s going to be an important part of our future, but our future is not Zap. Our future is what are the whole suite of things we can do for our agents using data technology differently than what’s happening today. We need to do it on a broader basis to help the agent for the whole lifecycle [of a deal]. Zap will be a piece of that, but there’s a lot more work we have to do. But I believe we have the scale and the resources to actually do it at Realogy.”
Earlier this month, Schneider, who was named to replace Richard Smith late last year, announced the promotions of six executives at parent company Realogy Holdings, as well as several of the company’s 12 business units, including Cartus, Corcoran and Sotheby’s International Realty.
Beside Schneider, the executives promoted have 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 adviser to Schneider. Dave Gordon, a 20-year veteran of the tech industry, was also appointed as chief technology officer. As many as 10 other top executives have been reassigned, promoted or hired since 2016, according to an analysis by Inman.
On Tuesday, Realogy Franchise Group President John Peyton lauded Schneider, and other real estate outsiders who have joined the company in recent years, insisting that injecting new blood with a diversity of strengths will ensure success in the face of a rapidly changing industry.
“Realogy is an industry leader — the largest 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, himself a former Starwood Hotels executive, during a CEO Connect panel with Move, Inc. CEO Ryan O’Hara.
“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.”
Read all of our coverage from Inman Connect NY 2018.