Compass taps top Coldwell Banker managers to head new LA offices

Firm plans new locations in Montecito, Santa Barbara and Pasadena

From left: Robert Reffkin, Leah Sternberg and John Nisbet
From left: Robert Reffkin, Leah Sternberg and John Nisbet

Compass’ rapid West Coast expansion is showing no signs of letting up.

The company, which already has offices in Malibu and Beverly Hills, nabbed two industry veterans from Coldwell Banker to oversee sales in three additional California markets – Montecito, Santa Barbara and Pasadena, it said Wednesday.

Leah Sternberg, a longtime Coldwell Banker manager, will lead the Pasadena office. Sternberg served as district manager for Coldwell Banker for nearly two years, handling clients in the San Gabriel Valley and the northwest region of Los Angeles. She oversaw 15 offices and 900 agents.

John Nisbet, also of Coldwell Banker, will manage the locations in Montecito and Santa Barbara.

Compass declined to comment on the exact locations of the three new offices.

Sternberg and Nisbet are just the latest in a string of high-profile West Coast agents to sign on to Compass since the company launched in the region two months ago. Scott Segall and Jeeb O’Reilly of Douglas Elliman both  jumped to Compass in recent months, as did the Agency’s Ari Afshar.

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The firm also recently tapped Jay Rubenstein, a manager at Coldwell Banker’s Malibu West office, to lead its outpost in Malibu.

“We’ve hired over 80 agents in the last 60 days,” CEO Robert Reffkin told The Real Deal of the firm’s California expansion. “They have the opportunity to build a company with their own vision. They decide who we hire, where our offices are.”

Compass hasn’t hesitated to ruffle feathers by poaching brokers from other firms in New York, prompting a lawsuit from the Corcoran Group last year. But Reffkin said there’s been no backlash in Los Angeles so far.

A representative for Coldwell Banker did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the recent departures.

Compass doesn’t plan to call time on its California designs anytime soon. Reffkin said the firm will open further locations in Brentwood and Los Feliz in the next few months.

“We’re focusing on luxury areas across the county,” Reffkin said.