At a time when brokerages are upping their tech game, Douglas Elliman is out a chief technology officer.
After nearly four years at the residential brokerage, Jeffrey Hummel left his post in May. His departure comes at a time when firms are looking to invest in tech as a means of attracting and retaining talent.
He’s now working as chief information officer of New Jersey-based GrayHair Software, which services the postal industry.
When reached by phone Wednesday evening, Hummel described it as a “lateral move” and said he decided to leave the brokerage because of an “unbelievable offer,” which included equity in GrayHair.
During Hummel’s tenure at Elliman, he said he oversaw about 25 projects a year which ranged in size and utility from enhancing cyber security to migrating to cloud-based systems and creating “a Genius bar” for agents. Last year, the brokerage launched an intranet platform known as “Douglas,” which includes an app store that provides agents with free use of corporate apps or discounted third-party apps.
The firm in 2017 began working on an “Elliman-branded and StreetEasy-powered” platform for agents to input listings. The platform, called “Listing Tools,” was supposed to launch in 2018 and be adopted by other brokerages as part of a wider push from Zillow Group’s New York listings portal StreetEasy for agents to manually enter listings.
As The Real Deal reported in February, the Corcoran Group opted out of Listing Tools. Brown Harris Stevens and Compass instead asked StreetEasy reinstate their automatic listings feed in order to avoid using the new service, or StreetEasy’s alternative program, Agent Spotlight. (BHS told TRD at the time that StreetEasy denied its request.) Stribling & Associates and Warburg Realty also later confirmed they would not be using the Elliman-StreetEasy platform. It has not yet launched.
When asked about the status of the platform Hummel said “that’s all up to the business. We built what they wanted.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for Elliman said “while we decline comment in connection to our communications plan, especially in relation to any one specific product, Douglas Elliman will be launching a series of new technology tools for agents beginning this summer and throughout the third and fourth quarters.”
The spokesperson described Hummel as “an integral part” of the brokerage’s executive leadership team who was responsible for “successfully launching several key initiatives.”