Reffkin admits mistakes were made in 2018

In an end-of-year email the CEO acknowledged the company “faced challenges” but predicts 2019 will be “monumental”

Robert Reffkin (Credit: Columbia University and iStock)
Robert Reffkin (Credit: Columbia University and iStock)

In many ways, Robert Reffkin had a blessed year. In 2018, Compass expanded from 37 markets to 122, raised $1.2 billion, hired over 1,000 employees and signed on almost 6,000 new agents, the brokerage head told staffers in a company-wide email.

But Reffkin also admitted that in some areas, the company “fell short.” He highlighted the failed July launch of Powered By Compass, software the company had hoped to license to independent brokerages but was forced to roll-back following criticism from their own agents.

“We launched some technology without testing it thoroughly with agents,” Reffkin wrote, “and learned we can move too fast.”

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Another “rocky” moment for Reffkin came in August, when news of Compass’s acquisition of Pacific Union, a blockbuster California brokerage, leaked to the press. “Doing multiple mergers in a single year put strain on our employees, our culture, and unfortunately, the incoming agents felt and saw those cracks,” said Reffkin, according to Inman, which published his email on Thursday.

In his company-wide email, Reffkin also expressed regrets over what he had previously called an “arrogant marketing strategy.”

Reffkin predicted that 2019 would be “monumental” for the company and reiterated his “20/20 by 2020” plan, which would see Compass reach a 20 percent market share in each of the top 20 markets by 2020. [Inman] — Decca Muldowney

Correction: A prior version of this report said Reffkin didn’t note in his company-wide email a previous regret regarding “arrogant” marketing strategies; he did.

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