REA Group today announced the departure of CEO and Managing Director – Simon Baker, effective immediately. Chief Financial Officer Georg Chmiel has been appointed as acting CEO until a replacement is announced.
This comes as a little bit of a shock, I honestly thought Simon would be around until he was poached by another company. The Chairman of REA Group Richard Freudenstein said,
“Over the past seven years REA has grown from a single Australian website into a world-leading online property company, with operations in 10 countries and publishing 22 websites and 8 print publications. Now the Board feels it is time for new leadership to take the business to the next level. The Board would like to thank Simon for his contribution to this success and we wish him well in his future endeavours.”
This announcement comes on top of some pretty impressive results. REA’s results for the fiscal year ended in June are astonishingly good.
– Revenue of between $152 million and $156 million (up by 41% to 46%)
– EBITDA of between $35 million and $37 million (up by 49% to 57%)
– More than 22,400 paying agents as at 30 June 08 (up by 5,400 paying agents from 30 June 07)
The New Replacement
Well if you look at the above figures, it is a pretty big ask. My guess if the board want to continue with this growth, then the next CEO will last less than 12 months, as I cannot see that % of growth continuing.
I have dealt with Simon Baker on a number of occasions over the years and whilst we disagreed on a range of issues, he has always been available for a chat. I wish him well in his future endeavours. He will have leave big shoes and even higher expectations for his successor.