RE/MAX Holdings CEO Adam Contos on Tuesday announced he’s leaving the company at the end of March to pursue other opportunities.
As RE/MAX affiliates and the industry as a whole consider what this means for the 49-year-old franchisor, Contos and RE/MAX Founder Dave Liniger assured everyone RE/MAX Holdings, which is the parent company of RE/MAX and Motto Mortgage, would be in good hands with board member Stephen Joyce.
“I am honored to work alongside the RE/MAX Holdings management team and Board as we build on our strengths and advance our industry leadership positions,” Joyce said of his interim CEO position slated to begin March 31. “The real estate and mortgage sectors continue to experience tremendous change, but what remains constant is the unique and strong value proposition our company presents for productive agents, loan originators and franchisees to grow their businesses.”
Here’s a few fast facts about the interim chief executive officer.
He’s sat on the RE/MAX Board of Directors since 2020
Although Joyce is likely a new name for many in real estate, the former Dine Brands Global CEO is a giant in the hospitality industry with nearly 40 years of experience in executive positions at Marriott International and Choice Hotels International — which made him a prime pick in 2020 as RE/MAX searched for a new board member to help the company navigate industry disruption.
“Disruptive technology has been a theme throughout my career and joining the RE/MAX Board of Directors is a unique and exciting opportunity to apply the lessons and strategies I’ve learned,” Joyce said in 2020 of his experience, which has shown up in RE/MAX’s latest string of successful technology launches and the June acquisition of franchisor RE/MAX Integra’s North American regions.
He attempted to turn IHOP and Applebee’s around after years of decline
Before joining RE/MAX’s Board of Directors in April 2020, Joyce led Dine Brands Global, the parent company of more than 3,700 IHOP and Applebee’s locations in 18 countries. Joyce joined the company at a tenuous time as Dine Brands struggled to revive IHOP and Applebee’s crumbling performances.
However, after almost four years, Joyce resigned, and former Realogy Franchise Group President and CEO John Peyton took the reins.
“With the occurrence of the crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is not only essential that we all focus on our current situation, but also our emergence with a strong leadership team for the future,” Joyce told trade publication Restaurant Dive in 2020 of his decision to exit Dine Brands after failing to help IHOP and Applebee’s rebound.
He built Marriott International and Choice Hotels International into the behemoths they are today
Outside of his troublesome tenure at Dine Brands, Joyce had illustrious careers at Choice Hotels International and Marriott International, two of the world’s largest hotel franchisors.
Joyce spent the first 25 years of his career at Marriott, where he launched the company’s first franchise program, which now includes more than 2,500 hotels.
In 2008, Joyce moved over to Choice Hotels International, where he expanded the company’s footprint from nine to 13 brands and grew their hotel count to more than 6,700 locations in 45 countries.
He appeared on an episode of CBS’ ‘Undercover Boss’
During his time at Choice, Joyce was also the subject of a 2010 episode of ‘Undercover Boss,’ a now-syndicated television show that makes CEOs do the work of their everyday employees.
“They want to break you down and make you look silly and then it’s a story of redemption,” Joyce told the Wall Street Journal of his experience on the show. “It’s always the unaware CEO discovering how important the people are on the front lines and how hard their jobs are. I grew up doing all those jobs, so it’s not like I didn’t know [how hard it is], but I hadn’t done them in 25 years.”
He added, “It was a great experience for the company, but basically, I looked really bad. Which everyone seemed to enjoy except for me.”
He’s expected to make a ‘significant’ impact as interim CEO
RE/MAX Founder Dave Liniger said all of Joyce’s experience, along with his contributions to the Board over past two years, made him the best choice for interim CEO, as the company hires an independent executive search firm to find a permanent replacement.
“His contributions to our Board and company have been significant,” Liniger said. “He is a highly engaged executive and during his time in the CEO chair we expect the company and our shareholders will benefit as he leads the evolution of our strategy to drive enhanced value for all stakeholders.”
CEO title won’t change much for Bailey and Morrison
In addition to Contos’ impending exit and Joyce’s temporary ascension to CEO and Director of the Board for RE/MAX Holdings, RE/MAX shared two other c-suite updates as RE/MAX President Nick Bailey and Motto Mortgage President Ward Morrison had CEO added to their titles.
Adding CEO to their titles won’t make much of a difference in both men’s roles, which already encompass much of what a CEO does — which Investopedia said includes “managing the operations and resources of a company, making major corporate decisions, being the main liaison between the board of directors and corporate operations, and being the public face of the company.”
Bailey and Morrison have had impressive careers at RE/MAX, with the duo steadily moving up the ranks since joining the company in 2001 and 2005, respectively.
Bailey served as a management consultant and the vice president of regional services during his first 12-year stint at RE/MAX before leaving to fulfill roles at Century 21, Market Leader and Trulia/Zillow. He came back to RE/MAX in 2019, where he quickly rose from chief customer officer to president. Meanwhile, Morrison moved up the ladder as a business development and customer relations executive, and then as a regional vice president and liaison before leading the launch of Motto Mortgage in 2016.