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David Doctorow, CEO of the Realtor.com parent Move, Inc., is stepping down from his role, the company announced in a statement on Thursday.
Doctorow served as head of the company since February 2020, overseeing it through the frenzied era in real estate brought on by the COVID pandemic, low interest rates and record home sales before the market slowed down significantly over the past year.
Move announced Doctorow will be replaced by Damian Eales, a long-time employee at News Corp, which owns Move, Inc. Eales will take the reins effective June 12, the company said.
“Real estate has always had its ups and downs, never more so than in the last three years,” Doctorow wrote in a post on LinkedIn shortly after the announcement was made, adding that he was moving on “with mixed emotions.”
“While there is so much more success that lies ahead for Realtor.com, this feels to me like the right time to push myself as a leader and to move on to my next challenge,” he wrote. “I can’t wait for what lies ahead.”
In January, Move, Inc. was on a path to be acquired by commercial real estate giant CoStar for a reported $3 billion. The deal fell through a month later, though little other information has been shared about the breakdown.
The conversations took place at a time when CoStar is looking to beef up its residential offerings, but also as revenue and traffic are sliding for Realtor.com.
Doctorow oversaw the company as its revenues and site traffic rose to record highs, the company said. But as with the rest of the industry, Move has shown signs of a slowdown.
Unique visitors dropped by 24 percent in the first three month of this year, according to News Corps’ latest earnings report. Lead volume dropped by 30 percent during that time, and revenue fell 17 percent.
Those declines were far more than the other companies that are owned by News Corps, which may be best known as the publisher of The Wall Street Journal. Overall, News Corp revenue was down just 2 percent in the first quarter of this year.
Still, Doctorow oversaw a precipitous rise in revenue during his tenure, with Move revenue climbing by 50 percent between the company’s fiscal years 2020 and 2022.
Doctorow oversaw the acquisitions of Avail and UpNest into the Move and Realtor.com platforms. Avail is a platform that helps landlords manage their rentals. UpNest is a real estate agent marketplace.
Traffic to Move’s sites grew to reach a peak of 100 million unique monthly visitors in 2022 as the industry reached a fever pitch.
“We are all very grateful to David for the many ways he helped grow Realtor.com, including through the acquisition and integration of key assets, the launch of innovative products, the expansion of offerings in rentals and new construction, and the development of sell-side products,” News Corp CEO Robert Thomson said in a statement.
“It was not long after David started that the world was thrust into the pandemic, but he and everyone at Realtor.com responded professionally,” Thomson added. “The business managed to expand revenues and audience, gaining share despite the obstacles of that era.”
In tapping Eales, the company is picking an executive who has led various initiatives related to transformation. He was also part of an effort at News Corp to save the company money, News Corp said in a statement.
Eales has served as News Corps’ global head of transformation since July 2020, the company said. He oversaw news.com.au as it transitioned into a leading Australian news site, the company said. A partnership with REA Group helped grow realestate.com.au into the top digital real estate site on that continent.
“Damian is a strong leader with a long track record of accomplishment, and I am confident that his acumen and acuity will serve him well in leading Realtor.com into a new era of growth,” Thomson said.
Doctorow will stay with the company to help Eales transition into the new role over the next few weeks, the company said.