Realogy cuts salaries and work week to avoid layoffs

Brokerage giant to cut back on marketing, investments

Realogy CEO Ryan Schneider (Credit: iStock)
Realogy CEO Ryan Schneider (Credit: iStock)

The economic impact of coronavirus has hit Realogy — but not in the form of layoffs.

The brokerage giant will temporarily cut the salary and work week of a “majority of our employees,” the company disclosed in a regulatory filing Wednesday. The parent company of the Corcoran Group, Coldwell Banker and Sotheby’s International Realty
will also pull back on marketing expenses and delay investments in certain strategic initiatives as it grapples with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the filing, Realogy said the cuts are “intended to increase liquidity to support its operations.”

“As it has become clearer the impact coronavirus could have on our industry and our business, we have also made proactive and informed moves,” Realogy said in a statement.

Realogy said CEO Ryan Schneider will take a 90 percent pay cut and his direct reports agreed to a 50 percent pay cut, effective April 4.

Earlier this month, Realogy inked a new three-year contract with Schneider, who earns a base salary of $1 million. (He took home total compensation of $9.1 million in 2018, Realogy financials show.)

With the market in limbo across the U.S., Compass laid off 15 percent of its staff this week.

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Realogy said it is working with federal, state and local governments on relief measures, including a $2 trillion stimulus deal reached late Tuesday.

In particular, Realogy had advocated that independent contractors and small businesses be included in relief bills. “We want transaction closings to be considered equivalent to banking activities when determining essential services,” Realogy said. (Compass’ CEO Robert Reffkin had sent a letter to Congress last week, also asking for the inclusion of independent contractors.)

To supplement its cash on hand, Realogy said it borrowed another $400 million. As of March 23, it had $487 million cash on hand. It waived certain fees for franchisees, including monthly minimums and fees for transactions during the second quarter.

Last week, Realogy suspended its instant home-buying program, known as RealSure.

“With the volatility of the current market, we do not believe that RealSure can now provide the value the program was designed to deliver,” the company said in a statement.

Realogy stock closed at $3.44 per share on Tuesday, up nearly 15 percent as the market rose as a deal neared for a $2 trillion stimulus.

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