Real estate hires and promotions: February 2018

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Editor’s note: This story will be updated with additional hires. 

February 2018 is already witnessing an array of real estate industry hires and promotions. Who’s making moves? Which businesses are bringing in new blood or creating fresh positions?

Here’s a rundown of some recent HR news across the board.

Carina Cortez named Executive Vice President of HR at Ellie Mae

Carina Cortez

Leading cloud-based platform provider for the mortgage finance industry Ellie Mae welcomed Carina Cortez, the former vice president of human resources for Walmart US eCommerce and Walmart Labs. In her new role, Cortez will lead the company’s human resources organization with a goal to attract and retain top talent, manage workforce planning, and leading the talent development strategy to ensure the company is an ideal place to work.

“I look forward to working with the teammates at Ellie Mae through this time of immense organizational growth and change,” said Cortez. “I am excited to leverage my passion for driving business objectives, while leveraging a human capital strategy, and focusing on recruiting, retention, and talent development.”

Carina led the team of HR Business Partners supporting the 26,000+ associates at Walmart US eCommerce and Walmart Labs before making the move to Ellie Mae. And before joining Walmart, Carina spent just under nine years at PayPal in a variety of leadership roles.

Carina most recently served as the Senior Director of Learning and Organizational Development where she reimagined the Global Learning and Organization Development function for the company.

Before working at PayPal, Carina held numerous roles at Visa International, Inovant, a Visa subsidiary, and Visa USA. Carina earned a B.S. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Human Resource Management from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

“I am very pleased to welcome Carina to the Ellie Mae team,” said Jonathan Corr, Ellie Mae President and CEO. “As a technology company headquartered in the Bay Area, we have experienced very rapid growth — just last month we announced our 1500th employee.

“Carina’s experience will help us align our human resources strategies with our corporate objectives and strong core values to keep the focus on employee success and ensure that Ellie Mae remains a best place to work.”

Carrington Mortgage Holdings welcomes Rick Sharga back to the company

Rick Sharga

Rick Sharga has rejoined Carrington Mortgage Holdings as an executive vice president. In his new role, Sharga will serve as primary spokesperson for the company, and will lead public relations and communications efforts, and branding and marketing strategies for all Carrington Companies.

“We’re glad to have Rick back at Carrington,” said Kevin Cloyd, chief administrative officer for Carrington Holding Company. “Carrington has numerous products and services, from our rapidly growing loan origination and servicing platforms, to our consumer-facing online services such as Carrington Connects, which manage every step of the home ownership and mortgage journey, and Rick is uniquely qualified to deliver our messages successfully in all of our markets.”

Sharga is a known subject matter expert on every aspect of mortgage and real estate, and has made frequent appearances in major broadcast, print and online media. Sharga worked for five years at Ten-X — first as EVP of the company’s Auction.com business unit, then as the company’s chief marketing officer — before rejoining Carrington.

“Carrington’s mix of products and services is as diverse as it is unique, and the company has a great deal to offer to consumers, agents and brokers,” Sharga said. “The market is looking for the kinds of products and services that Carrington offers, from loan products that enable credit-challenged borrowers in underserved communities to buy a home to the new Connects platform that provides homebuyers an integrated solution for finding a home, getting a loan and closing the transaction. It’s great to be back, and I’m looking forward to building the Carrington brand across all of our audiences.”

Sharga is a member of the Corporate Board of Governors of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, the Advisory Board of the Asian Real Estate Association of America and the Five Star Institute’s National Mortgage Servicing Association. He was included in Inman’s 2013 and 2014 Inman 100, an annual list of the most influential leaders in real estate.

Realtor.com welcomes two new leaders in product development and user experience design

Deepak Thakral

Realtor.com announced the appointment of Deepak Thakral to senior vice president of product development and Steve Grove to vice president of user experience design. Both positions report to realtor.com Chief Product Officer Chung Meng Cheong.

“We are pleased to welcome Deepak and Steve to the team,” said Cheong. “Deepak’s rich product and engineering background and Steve’s marketplace expertise are critical in helping realtor.com create a seamless, cross-platform experience informed by consumer needs that will enable them to move confidently through every step of their home journey.”

Thakral’s new role includes driving the professional experience for agents and brokers on realtor.com, encompassing listing search results and display features, branding and lead generation, advertising, dashboard management and agent profiles for agents, brokers and teams. He also leads the company’s media advertising experience across mobile, web and desktop platforms, including site-specific advertising and realtor.com’s integration with the News Corp global advertising network.

Steve Grove

“Realtor.com has a unique set of audiences with a wide range of interests and needs, from buying, selling, owning and remodeling a home to securing a mortgage and home insurance,” said Thakral. “I am excited to explore ways of optimizing that ecosystem and helping our customers deliver to our consumers the resources they need at their specific juncture of the home journey.”

Grove leads the realtor.com user experience design team, connecting consumers with real estate professionals by establishing a cohesive, cross-device experience that spans the full home lifecycle. Part of Grove’s new role is to accelerate the development of product designs and end-user experiences.

“I see a lot of opportunity in improving the online home-buying experience,” said Grove. “After spending much of my career developing marketplaces and connecting different types of people together through software, I am looking forward to creating an even better realtor.com® user experience for home buyers, agents and brokers.”

Ryan Abbe named head of RE investment banking at JMP Group

Ryan Abbe

Investment banking and alternative asset management firm JMP Group LLC recently named Ryan Abbe head of real estate investment banking at JMP Securities, and appointed him to JMP Securities’ investment banking management committee. Abbe was previously managing director at the firm’s San Francisco headquarters.

“Ryan’s promotion is representative of the significant contributions he has made to JMP’s investment banking group in recent years and the role he has played in the success of our real estate effort,” said Carter Mack, president of JMP Group.

“Ryan has a strong track record of strategic advisory work; and, with the firm placing an emphasis on M&A in 2017, Ryan completed a marquee real estate transaction, while also overseeing our equity and debt capital raising activities in the sector. Under Ryan’s leadership, we look forward to extending our reputation among middle-market real estate companies as a key advisor and top underwriter.”

Since joining JMP Securities in 2004, Abbe has been involved with several real estate-related businesses, including land developers, real estate investment trusts, homebuilders and real estate-related technology and services companies. Abbe was a member of the financial institutions group at Piper Jaffray before joining JMP Securities, and has executed equity and debt capital raising transactions with total proceeds of more than $30 billion and strategic advisory transactions with a total value exceeding $8 billion.

Capsilon names Ginger Wilcox SVP of Marketing

Ginger Wilcox

Capsilon, the leading partner for delivering a cloud-based end-to-end digital mortgage solution, announced today that Ginger Wilcox will be joining the team as senior vice president of marketing after having worked for Sindeo, a digital startup she helped launch, for almost three years.

As Sindeo’s CMO and chief industry officer, Wilcox led brand marketing, customer acquisition, communications and strategic partnerships. In her new position at Capsilon, Wilcox will be responsible for leading marketing, brand positioning and growth for Capsilon products.

“Ginger is a proven marketing and growth leader with a track record of success in top-performing mortgage, real estate and software companies and is one of the most-connected people in the housing industry,” said Capsilon founder and CEO Sanjeev Malaney.

“Her expertise in building strong brands and strategic partnerships in high growth environments will be a tremendous asset as we accelerate our growth in 2018.”

Re/Max announces retirement of President Geoff Lewis

A headshot of Geoff Lewis

Geoff Lewis

Re/Max Holdings, the parent company of real estate franchisor Re/Max, today announced the retirement of president Geoff Lewis.

According to the announcement, effectively immediately, some of Lewis’s responsibilities overseeing Re/Max’s Region Development Group will be transitioned to Re/Max co-CEO, Adam Contos, who is under investigation for possible ethical and business violations alongside co-CEO and co-founder, Dave Liniger, the company revealed in November. Re/Max Region executive vice presidents, Josh Bolgren and Kevin Northrup, will continue to support franchises within the owned and independent regions.

“We wish Geoff well in his retirement,” said Liniger in a statement. “We look forward to the future with confidence as Adam works more closely with our affiliates in both our owned and independent regions.”

Lewis, meanwhile will remain with Re/Max as a senior advisor until June 30 to help with the transition.

“I remain confident that Re/Max will retain its number one position and wish the company the greatest of success,” Lewis said in a statement. “I have decided that the time is right for me to retire.”

Read more here.

Martin Bozarth named Chief Financial Officer of Baird & Warner

Martin Bozarth

Bozarth, who holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Michigan State University and an MBA from the University of Chicago, is  succeeding Warren Habib, who contributed to the company’s rapid expansion.

“We’re proud to welcome Marty back to the Baird & Warner family,” said Steve Baird, the company’s president and CEO. “Marty led Baird & Warner’s financial operations for all of our lines of business — residential sales, mortgage and title — during a high-growth period. We’re looking forward to benefiting again from his leadership and financial and operational expertise at a time when we just closed another record year and are already off to a strong 2018.”

Bozarth was CFO for USA Vein Clinics in Northbrook, Illinois, and served as COO of Profit Recovery Partners, a California-based expense reduction consultant for Fortune 1000 company CFOs, for nearly a decade.

“I’m excited to rejoin the executive team at Baird & Warner and eager to contribute to and manage the financial goals and strategic vision of the company,” said Bozarth.

“One thing that hasn’t changed since I’ve been gone is the company’s dedication to serving the people of Chicago and its suburbs — both in making all of their real estate goals easier to achieve and at a philanthropic level. I look forward to helping the company continue to drive growth across all of its real estate service lines.”

Jay Thompson announces retirement from Zillow

Jay Thompson

Zillow evangelist Jay Thompson will retire and step down from his role as director of industry outreach for the online real estate company this summer, he announced in a blog post Thursday.

“I’m 57 years old. I want to retire while I am still young and spry enough to enjoy life,” Thompson wrote.

Thompson didn’t give an exact date, but said he would likely make it official this summer. In his post, he said Zillow supported his decision and that he’s a retiree, “not a quitter.”

Zillow and Thompson haven’t yet figured out if someone will take over his exact role, Thompson said. But if anyone’s interested in his type of position, they should get in touch, he said.

“During Jay’s time at Zillow Group, he’s been an incredible resource to all of us, and to the agent and broker community,” Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff told Inman in an email. “His deep real estate experience has been invaluable to us — allowing us to connect more deeply with our partners in the industry. But even more than that, he’s a dear friend. We’ll miss his contributions and good spirit around the office, but are so excited for him and his family and their adventures ahead.”

Read more here.

Former Keller Williams CEO Chris Heller takes over loanDepot’s mello Home

Chris Heller

Former Keller Williams CEO Chris Heller will join loanDepot’s new brand mello Home as CEO, the company announced Wednesday.

Mello Home is a new platform and vertical from loanDepot, under parent company LD Holdings. The platform launched at Inman Connect NY 2018 in late January and expands loanDepot’s lending focus to match pre-approved buyers with agents.

“I’ve had the same vision as [loanDepot CEO Anthony Hsieh] even when I was at Keller Williams, providing consumers with what they want and the type of consumer experience we should all be striving for,” Heller said in a phone call with Inman. “When I saw what loanDepot was doing, I discovered it’s a really good fit for me, aligned with what’s best for buyers and sellers.”

Heller was named to Inman’s list of Real Estate Influencers last year. The executive will bring his experience leading agents and brokers to the tech platform focused on matching clients with agents.

“I’ve been fortunate to work at all levels as an agent, owner, real estate brokerage leader and executive in this industry.” Heller said. “It’s given me a 360-degree perspective not only on where the gaps are, but where the holes are, where the challenges are, where the pain points are, not just for consumers but for people within the industry. My experience gained over the last 30 years and the last seven at Keller Williams will absolutely help inform the decisions we make.”

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