News Corp has underlined the importance of its REA property website listings business by promoting its CEO, Tracey Fellows to run all of the company’s operations in this year from the US.
REA dominates the Australian home listings market (with weak competition from Fairfax Media’s Domain), news has a much bigger business in the huge US market through Move and its realtor.com website business which is an intense competition with rivals such as Zillow (which is facing an increasingly uncertain outlook).
Like Australia, the US housing market is slowing. Home prices are starting to track lower in more and more markets, margins are coming under pressure, rising interest rates and home mortgage costs are seeing a pullback in interest from new and existing buyers.
So News Corp has turned to Ms. Fellows to take control of the entire business based in New York. She will be the company’s President, Global Digital Real Estate. “In her new role, Fellows will be responsible for driving strategy and growth across all of News Corp’s digital real estate interests,” News Corp said in yesterday’s announcement.
News Corp CEO, Robert Thomson said in the statement, “Tracey has driven the rapid expansion of the digital real estate business in Australia and Asia and we believe her leadership internationally will ensure that all of our digital property companies realize their extraordinary potential. She is an inspiring leader who is able to bring out the best in teams and in individuals.”
“Audiences, revenue, and profits at REA Group have all expanded significantly during Tracey’s tenure as CEO. She has been an irrepressible innovator and has led the company into intelligent adjacencies, such as financial services and property data, which have broadened the revenue base and built a platform for future growth.
REA Group actually owns 20% of Move, so in effect, her move is that from the second largest shareholder. News Corp owns 61% of REA Group and from these comments yesterday it is clear there is no one at News Corp in the US capable of filling this role and driving the US website business, so a new role has been developed for her at head office in New York.
She finishes up as CEO of REA Group in January 2019, but she will remain on its Board on behalf of News Corp. She will support the appointment of her replacement and the transition of leadership.