CEO exits network on a high note

The head of one of the country’s largest joint-venture franchise groups, Landmark Harcourts, will leave the company in a favourable position when he departs later this year.

Darren Cole has spent the last three years at the helm of the country’s largest regional real estate agency, but revealed to Real Estate Business that he has since been headhunted by a local education company.

“I’ve enjoyed my time here at Landmark Harcourts, helping the business perform to its absolute best and produce great results year on year,” he said.

With 146 locations since the joint venture between Landmark and Harcourts was announced in April 2011, Mr Cole has left some parting gifts that he hopes will hold the company in good stead for future growth.

“We’ve been focusing on two key areas for growth that I hope will leave great scope for expansion. We’re the first real estate company to expose Australian rural property to the Chinese market, and we’ve discovered there is appetite for this sort of investment,” he said.

Last year, Landmark Harcourts took $180 million of regional and rural properties to China and did a roadshow around five cities.

“We’ve sold tens of millions of dollars of those properties and learnt some terrific things while doing this, including how the Chinese buyer wants an entire solution package, not just a property," Mr Cole said.

“It’s been successful, so much so that Jason Hellyer has been promoted as our China specialist. He goes to Hong Kong and Shanghai next week to work with our forty-plus Harcourts offices in China to strengthen that relationship ahead of our next China roadshow, which will be in September, October.”

Mr Cole has also revealed a new benchmarking report for rural sales data, an area he believes many major data companies are neglecting.

“The benchmark focuses on sales data in 380 Local Government Areas outside the metro capitals. It’s about arming the consumer with better quality data so they can make better buying and selling decisions,” he said.

According to Mr Cole, the report has been a success, with widespread media coverage and plenty of interest in subscriptions.

Franchise operations manager Craig Yarrow will move into the role of general manager.

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