Just over two weeks ago, Errol Samuelson jumped ship from Move Inc to join arch rival Zillow.com. This move caught everyone by surprise including his former boss, Move Inc CEO Steve Berkowitz. In a recent discussion with blogger Rob Hahn, it was clear that Steve Berkowitz was completely blindsided by the move and was furious with how Errol had gone about leaving the business he had worked for for over 10 years.
On Friday, Errol released an article on the Zillow blog outlining why he joined Zillow.
The article talks about why it was attractive to join the Zillow team. According to Errol "[i] respect their intelligence and passion for their business. I was also impressed with Zillow’s focus on serving consumers and how that, in turn, has driven such phenomenal growth."
He goes on to say "Zillow views the industry as an essential partner, believes that agents and brokers play a critical role in the real estate transaction — both now and in the future — and Zillow views its mission as both empowering consumers and helping them connect with professionals. The Zillow team also was emphatic about their desire to build deeper, more collaborative and enduring relationships with the industry, including with MLSs, real estate associations and franchisors. For me, these conversations with Zillow’s management were pivotal. I saw a sincere desire to partner with the industry and I wouldn’t have considered joining the team if that wasn’t the case."
One area that is not clear is why Errol wanted to move or, as he puts it in the article, "was open to change". According to SEC filings, in 2012 Errol had USD 1.9m in total compensation. Zillow must have put a very attractive package on the table to entice him to move from Move Inc.
Since the departure of Errol from the Move Inc, the share price of Move has slumped 7%. On the other hand, the Zillow share price has jumped 3.5% over the same period. That is good news for Zillow and, rather obviously, puts more pressure on Steve Berkowitz at Move. Time will tell whether it was all worth it.