Century 21 CEO succeeded by former boss

By Candace Taylor | October 20, 2008 03:23PM

Century 21 NY Metro President and CEO Michael Simon has left the company and been replaced by his former boss and company COO Marc Lewis.

Century 21’s board of directors accepted Simon’s resignation late last week, according to company spokeswoman Charlotte Kullen. Simon had been with the company for just over two years, she said, adding that his departure and Lewis’ promotion were announced within the firm last week. Simon was not available for comment.

Kullen did not comment on the reasons for Simon’s departure from the two-year-old company other than to say, “It’s a new franchise. We’re new in New York. There’s always change in New York.”

She said Simon, who oversaw the 2006 merger of Dwelling Quest and Century 21 Kevin B. Brown that  resulted in the creation of Century 21 NY Metro, will be “pursing other opportunities,” but added that she wasn’t sure if they would be in real estate or not.

Lewis gave Simon his first job out of college at L.D. Gardner Realty, an Upper East Side brokerage firm. Some 20 years later, when Simon was president and CEO of Century 21 NY Metro, he returned the favor by making Lewis COO.

Lewis said he remains on good terms with Simon but did not comment further on his departure. For the foreseeable future at least, Lewis will serve as both COO and CEO.

“In this kind of economy, you don’t need COOs,” he said. “You need people that can wear a couple different hats. Companies can’t afford fat.”
Prior to helping form Century 21 NY Metro, Simon was a long-time executive with the former Cendant Corporation, now Realogy and the parent company of Century 21 Real Estate.

Lewis first entered the industry as a rental agent with L.D. Gardner Realty in 1973. In 1988, he founded his own firm, Marc Lewis Realty, which provided sales, rental, building site and building sales brokerage services. In 2002, he merged Marc Lewis Realty with Manhattan Apartments, then joined Century 21 NY Metro in 2007 as COO.

Lewis said he plans to help Century 21 NY Metro expand into commercial real estate, creating divisions for store leasing and investment sales.

“We’re trying to branch out and give agents different options,” he said. “In this market, you can’t just have one niche. You have to be flexible.” He added: “There’s always a facet of the industry that’s making money. We’re trying to have everything under one roof.”

The company is planning to hire new agents, he said, and is currently in the process of looking to move from its current 10,000 square feet of space at 575 Madison Avenue to about 15,000 square feet in the same neighborhood.  

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