The Australasian cooperative is divided into five regions in Australia and New Zealand, all of which have operated independently under their own chief executives. They will now be united under a group CEO, who is expected to start by 1 July.
Chairman Ian Cornell said Professionals had finally decided to give the 300-office group a united voice on strategy, marketing and purchasing after pondering the idea for about a decade.
“The disaggregation by the various jurisdictions around Australia and New Zealand saw us with a number of CEOs duplicating much of which can be centralised for efficiencies,” Mr Cornell said.
“This initiative will see the inaugural CEO charged with reducing such duplication, streamlining decisions, delivering more effective and relevant services to our membership, along with strategies for greater market share, portfolio momentum and mergers and acquisitions.”
Mr Cornell told Real Estate Business that Professionals’ cooperative model, in place since 1976, was now holding back the group’s growth ambitions.
The group CEO will face a “Herculean task” in trying to change Professionals’ decentralised culture, Mr Cornell said. However, that new corporate structure should allow the company to grow its member numbers by about 10 per cent during the CEO’s first year.
Mr Cornell added that Professionals had spent the past two months trialling a lead generation campaign that is expected to be rolled out nationally from February. The campaign is being run through a radio station that targets an under-45 audience, with those listeners being directed to a website.
“The people we’re driving to the website are generally the people who don’t want to be pestered by real estate agents, so they’re doing it at their own pace,” he told Real Estate Business.
“In the last two months, there have been direct listings that we suggest would not have been invited to appraise that property and maybe wouldn’t have come to market yet.”