Realogy Holdings Corp., the largest full-service residential real estate services company in the United States, has announced a leadership succession plan.
As a result, Ryan M. Schneider has been named president and chief operating officer, and has been appointed to the board of directors. Schneider will begin his duties at Realogy on October 24. In addition, Schneider will become Realogy’s chief executive officer, effective December 31.
Richard A. Smith, Realogy’s chairman and chief executive officer, who worked hand-in-hand with a special committee of the board on the search for his successor, will retire, also effective December 31, after 21 years of exceptional leadership with the company.
At the same time, Michael J. Williams, Realogy’s lead independent director, will succeed Smith as chairman of the company’s board of directors.
Schneider joins Realogy after nearly 15 years of senior leadership experience at Capital One Financial Corporation. From 2007 to 2016, he was President of Capital One’s Card division, its largest business, where he oversaw all of Capital One’s consumer and small business credit card lines in the United States, U.K. and Canada. He managed a staff of more than 10,000 employees and reported directly to Capital One’s Chief Executive Officer. Under Mr. Schneider’s leadership, the Card division’s assets nearly doubled to $90 billion through organic growth and acquisitions, and net income grew to consistently be more than $2 billion a year. He also brings franchise experience from a prior role running Capital One’s Auto Finance business. Earlier in his career, Mr. Schneider was a partner at McKinsey & Company, where he focused on financial services clients.
Schneider said, “I am thrilled with the opportunity to join Realogy in this leadership capacity because I am convinced of the strength of its fully integrated business model, the quality of its people, the foundation for growth that it has built, the capacity it has for accelerating its growth based on new ways to use data, analytics and technology, and the unique advantages that Realogy can leverage in an industry that generated over $70 billion in commissions last year.
“Realogy benefits from a portfolio of many of the industry’s best-known brands, and as the leader in U.S. existing home sales, the Company’s scale and resources are unmatched in the industry. Richard Smith has been instrumental in growing and leading this company and making Realogy the foremost platform for residential real estate services in the United States. I look forward to working closely with Richard, Realogy’s talented management team, employees and the Board to deliver on our operational initiatives and growth strategy to help enhance value for Realogy shareholders and other stakeholders.”
Smith said, “As we look to the future and the Company’s next phase of growth, I believe now is the right time to transition to new leadership, and Ryan Schneider is ideally suited to lead Realogy forward. I was initially prepared to stay on into 2018 to help facilitate a transition of responsibilities, but I am so confident in Ryan’s proven leadership abilities and the Company’s clear strategic growth plans that I believe now is the right time to accelerate my retirement to the end of this year. In the interim, I am committed to working closely with Ryan in his new role and the Board to ensure a seamless transition.”
Williams said, “We are pleased to have an executive of Ryan’s caliber join our senior management team and lead our company into the future. Ryan is a proven leader and brings a track record of execution, revenue generation and operational excellence, having driven the strong growth and success of Capital One’s Card business. Among other things, Ryan brings a wealth of experience in leveraging Big Data, rigorous analytics and new technology to drive business results. His skills and experience complement the talents and capabilities of Realogy’s leadership in its four businesses. I am confident that Ryan, together with our strong and deep executive team, will provide outstanding leadership and that Realogy will continue to create long-term value for our stakeholders.”
Smith has led Realogy’s business operations for the past 21 years, including 10 years at the helm of Cendant Corporation’s Real Estate Services Division, from which Realogy was formed as a spinoff in 2006. Under Mr. Smith’s leadership, Realogy and Cendant Real Estate developed the premier set of businesses in residential real estate services, including the world’s largest franchisor of residential real estate brokerages and the largest owner of U.S. residential real estate brokerage offices, together with the highly synergistic businesses of Cartus®, one of the largest U.S. and leading global provider of outsourced employee relocation services, and TRG, a significant provider of title and settlement services. Following the spinoff from Cendant, Realogy entered a period of private equity ownership, during which Mr. Smith helped navigate the housing downturn and recession, and led the Company through one of the largest and most successful initial public offerings of 2012. Mr. Smith also led the acquisition of ZipRealty Inc. in 2014, which has enabled Realogy to subsequently leverage its innovative Zap® technology platform across the Company’s franchise brands and company-owned brokerage operations in the United States. Since 2013, Realogy has generated significant free cash flow, allowing the Company to successfully deleverage its balance sheet and to return more than $1 billion of capital to its shareholders. Realogy has been recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere Institute in each of the past six years.
Williams continued, “Richard has been instrumental in leading Realogy’s transformation into a global leader in residential real estate franchising and brokerage, and integral to acquiring new leadership talent such as Mr. Schneider. In his 21 years leading Realogy, he has also played an instrumental role representing the real estate industry and its many constituencies. On behalf of the entire Board, I want to acknowledge and thank Richard for his years of exemplary leadership and service to Realogy. We look forward to his continued involvement with the Company and the real estate industry during this leadership transition period.”