Compass California President Mark McLaughlin will be leaving his post on Sept. 30 to rebuild his venture capital firm, McLaughlin Ventures.

Mark McLaughlin is ready to move on.

The Compass California president announced his impending departure last week through a heartfelt email recounting his experience building Pacific Union International into California’s leading luxury independent brokerage and ushering the company into a new era in 2018 with Compass.

Mark A. McLaughlin

“For twenty-four people, this journey started in Marin County in September 2006 – [our] sunrise so to speak!” he wrote. “Our journey was joined by many of you to ultimately create a CA powerhouse in Pacific Union International and Chartwell Escrow – a blending of 10 acquisitions, cultures, people, successes and traditions.”

“Over the past 15 years, we stretched, excelled, tackled challenges, survived several crises, embraced change, created opportunities and set records,” he added. “My sunset from this journey is now on the horizon and I will depart my full-time role on September 30, 2021.”

McLaughlin said Compass California is in “best shape it has ever been,” and although he’s stepping away from day-to-day operations, he’ll still be available as a strategic advisor.

“When you think of my departure, please know I am at the age and time in my life that it’s only appropriate for rising stars to take over day-to-day operations,” he explained. “My journey will certainly continue, but more likely in strategic roles lending my vision and experience to emerging or transitioning businesses.”

“Compass has amazing vision and sets a ferocious pace. Such a pace that at times it’s only appreciated after you pass a milepost vs. while you are approaching it,” he added. “Growth, technology and tools before you know you need them. Please embrace this pace, absorb what you can, when you can – you will be better for it!”

In a phone call with Inman, McLaughlin provided additional insight into his motivations for leaving Compass, saying he’s “the guy that always likes to have a target on his back.”

“I need to wake up terrified every morning. I need to wake up invigorated and challenged,” he said of his ability to not only accept, but embrace change. “I’m the guy that always likes to have a target on his back. It’s the time again for me to go and recreate something.”

McLaughlin has his eyes set on reigniting McLaughlin Ventures, which he placed on the back-burner after purchasing Pacific Union in 2009. When he relaunches the company in October, McLaughlin said he’ll focus on “moving the needle” in the real estate technology and mortgage industries.

“In 2018, the race has been on to connect what I call the cloud to the street, and the cloud is the technology companies that are trying to sort of reinvent and increase the velocity in the real estate business,” he explained. “The street would be the conventional services that consumers get from brokerage companies, mortgage companies [and] stuff like that.”

“So what’s going to happen is the conventional side of the business is going to rise to the cloud, or the cloud can, you know, come to the street. But that race is on and it’s converging now,” he added.

McLaughlin said the pandemic has accelerated the digitization of the industry, and he’s ready to invest in the companies and people who will lead the charge of creating a simpler, streamlined consumer experience.

“If there are 100 steps to a transaction, we, the industry, from a technology perspective, will begin to stitch all of those steps together,” he said. “[The result is] the consumer gets the same experience when they make an airline reservation — [the airline] says, ‘Do you need a hotel?’ and click — you’ve got a hotel reservation and a rental car. You don’t have to reenter your information.”

“That’s [the experience consumers] get from other industries,” he added. “How each brokerage, mortgage, escrow, title company embraces that [technology], obviously, is their choice. But the consumer will get what the consumer wants.”

McLaughlin said he believes he’s left Compass California in a great place, and the company’s leaders are more than capable of leading it into the future. “I think the company is on a pretty exceptional trajectory as an agent-centric technology-empowered offering,” he said. “I think you’ll continue to see that side of the business accelerate and enhance consumer experiences.”

Since McLaughlin’s announcement, multiple industry leaders have given the former president kudos for his work in the industry.

“Marilyn and I would personally like to wish our friend Mark McLaughlin best wishes on his transition into ‘what’s next,’ WAV Group founder Victor Lund said in a blog post. “We have had the pleasure of working with Mark and his Teams since his departure from Loopnet in 2001.”

Robert Reffkin

“Over those past two decades we have developed a deep friendship, and it has been inspiring to endure this journey with Mark through the best of times and darkest days of real estate brokerage,” he added.

Compass founder and CEO Robert Reffkin also offered well wishes for McLaughlin, who will officially step down on Sept. 30.

“Mark’s deep experience and vision for the real estate industry has been instrumental to Compass’ success throughout the West and beyond, helping us grow to over 22,000 agents across the country,” Reffkin told Inman in an emailed statement. “The entire Compass family will be rooting for him during the next chapter of his, already exceptional, career in real estate.”

Email Marian McPherson

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