Louise Sunshine breaks up with Compass

New-development maven cites lack of respect; will focus on media endeavors

From left: Louise Sunshine and David Snider
From left: Louise Sunshine and David Snider

Less than six months into a gig as an adviser to Compass, new development guru Louise Sunshine is out, citing a clash of cultures with the venture capital-backed brokerage.

“I felt that my business practices and those of Compass were not aligned,” Sunshine told The Real Deal. “Compass, they have their own way.”

Three decades ago, Sunshine founded her eponymous firm the Sunshine Group, which the Corcoran Group acquired in 2005. She is considered a pioneer in the field of new development marketing in New York, and joined Compass earlier this year to advise the brokerage on how to grow its new-development marketing arm nationally.

She worked out of the Compass office in Miami, which opened last fall.

She spoke highly of Compass CEO Robert Reffkin and president Leonard Steinberg, but appears to have clashed with David Snider, a Bain Capital alumnus who serves as Compass’ chief operating officer.

“They’re very data driven. And with youth comes a certain arrogance,” she said. “They don’t have a healthy respect for experience or knowledge. I think the key word is respect. I did not feel respected in any way, shape or form, and when you don’t feel respected, you have to go.”

A Compass spokesperson said Sunshine’s gig with Compass was just one among several consulting jobs and outside projects she worked on.

“Although that consulting relationship has ended, we appreciate the contributions she made in her advisory role,” the spokesperson wrote. “She is a true industry leader, and we wish her every success in the future.”

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Last year Roy Kim, whom Compass lured away from Extell Development to head up its new development business, left after just nine months at the firm. He later joined Douglas Elliman, and said of his time at Compass that “when your heart’s not in it, it’s time to go.”

Sunshine’s last day at Compass was May 25, she said. She said she had been seriously considering leaving for a month or two, but wanted to stick around to see the launch of the Compass Global Council – a network of 30 top-producing agents in the company nationwide. The group met for the first time last week during a networking event in Miami.

Among her other consulting projects, Sunshine worked on Vornado Realty Trust’s 220 Central Park South, and is involved with developing several Four Seasons hotels and residences in Florida. She’s also in talks to publish a book and launch a television show, both of which will focus on real estate.

“It’s going to be a show on how to and when to invest in real estate and how best to create value,” she said. “Such a show does not exist.”

Sunshine, of course, got her start in real estate working for Donald Trump, whom she’s frequently praised – both prior to and during his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

She didn’t have to go to Trump, though, for advice on launching a media career.

“I don’t need to get advice from Donald. I just follow his example,” she said. “Donald’s advice is engrained in me.”