Compass Chief Operating Officer Maëlle Gavet is leaving the well-funded, growing brokerage to take a new, undisclosed opportunity, a Compass source told Inman on Wednesday.
The source said the departure was not related to any reports of a working rift between Gavet and Compass CEO Robert Reffkin, which Gavet addressed in an exclusive interview with Inman earlier this year.
“Growing Compass alongside [Reffkin] and our amazing employees and agents has been one of the most rewarding and energizing experiences of my life and I am incredibly proud of all that we accomplished,” Gavet told Inman in a statement.
The Compass source tells Inman that the company won’t be looking for a replacement for the role, as Rob Lehman, chief business officer, has been leading operations across all regions. The company also has a set of regional presidents.
As part of a leadership shuffle earlier this year — which saw the departure of two executives on her team, Eytan Seidman and Khurrum Malik — Gavet was shifted from the company’s tech development to overseeing its “new ventures” division, which a Compass spokesperson described as mostly focused on “ancillary services” such as mortgage, title and escrow.
Reffkin has previously stated Compass’ intention is to provide all of these services, along with real estate transactions themselves, in a “one-stop shopping” experience for Compass clients online.
But Gavet dismissed rumors of any rift between her and Reffkin in the wake of that move, saying that their partnership was “strong and collaborative,” but a culture of open debate was important to Compass’ business.
“[Gavet] has been instrumental to Compass’ success, helping us grow to over 14,000 agents and 2,300 employees,” Reffkin said, about Gavet’s departure, in a statement. “She scaled our operational teams to support our national expansion to over 130 cities and was instrumental in growing our product and engineering team to over 400 people today. I, along with the entire Compass family, will be rooting for her.”
Gavet joined Compass in January 2017, after serving as an executive at The Priceline Group.
Gavet’s departure comes one week after the company confirmed its head of communications Jason Post would be leaving to take a new job at Google. Gavet will be with Compass until Oct. 4 as part of her transition.
Reffkin announced Gavet’s departure on Tuesday in a companywide memo. Read the full memo below:
The journey we have embarked on to help everyone find their place in the world is equally challenging as it is rewarding. The challenges arise not just from growing a business and serving our customers, but from knowing that some of our roles will evolve over time as the company grows and changes. Today, Maelle will be moving on to focus her attention on a new opportunity outside of Compass. The company will not be hiring a replacement for her role.
Before I expand on this mutual decision, it’s incredibly important to recognize how impactful Maelle has been. When Maelle joined in 2017, we were at an inflection point where we needed a COO to help establish the operational foundation to accelerate our growth while simultaneously preserving what made Compass unique. Maelle immediately began to make an impact on the company while working hard alongside our employees and agents to realize our vision. From product and engineering to operations, she helped build the infrastructure for a number of our teams and hired some of our most senior leaders. To put it in perspective, when Maelle joined we were 300 employees and 2,200 agents. Today, we are over 2,300 employees and 14,000 agents.
Maelle scaled our operational teams to support our national expansion to over 20 markets, including our successful integration with Pacific Union International. She oversaw the growth of our product and engineering organization to over 400 people, which included the acquisition of Contactually and the launch of tech campuses in Seattle and Washington, D.C. Her leadership within product and engineering helped us develop and launch a number of technology tools that helped our agents save time and grow their businesses.
However, what I most appreciate is her insight and contribution to the culture of Compass, always putting the interest of our people first. When Maelle came to me to discuss the future of the COO role, I knew she was looking at the question from the right perspective—the perspective of someone who cares as much about Compass as I do. After many conversations about what was in the best interest of the company, we reached the hard conclusion that Compass was ready to evolve again and that Maelle had accomplished all that she set out to do as COO.
Going forward, the People & Culture, Marketing, and New Ventures teams will report to me, and I look forward to working together to realize their vision. Each of these teams are essential to our future success and I will be spending a lot of time Dreaming Big, Moving Fast and Obsessing About Opportunity with them.
Maelle’s last day at Compass will be October 4, 2019. Between now and then, she will be working through this transition with her teams and our company as a whole. I will be personally speaking with the People & Culture, New Ventures and Marketing teams later today and throughout this week to make sure we have a smooth transition.
Thank you, Maelle. Your partnership has been essential to our growth, and we would not be the company we are today without your contributions. There is no doubt in my mind that you will go on to do great things, and the entire Compass family will be rooting for you.