Industry Coming & Goings: PropertyGuru, OLX Brazil, Casavo and Connells

Edmund Keith

February 19, 2021

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There have been a few appointment and departure headlines appearing in national property industry press sites in various countries around the world this week. We’ve summarised them here so you don’t have to do any googling or read anything in Portuguese or Spanish.

 

Departures

Who: Lucas Vargas has left his position as General Manager at OLX Brazil after just 4 months in the job.

Context: Vargas had previously been in charge of Grupo ZAP before its acquisition by OLX Brazil last year. After the deal was approved he had transitioned from working for the vertical sites managed by ZAP to the horizontal giant site OLX. We interviewed Lucas back in December as part of our Property Portal Watch en Español digital conference and he told us about the different challenges involved in managing a horizontal platform and about the next steps for the newly created OLX / ZAP+ business.

Vargas has left OLX to head up the global digital bank Nomad headquartered in Sao Paulo. We have reached out to Lucas for comment and will update as and when we hear from him about his interesting new venture.

 

Who: According to reports in Singapore, KKR’s APAC General Manager Terence Lee has resigned. As a major investor, KKR holds a seat on regional property portal giant PropertyGuru’s board which Lee occupied.

Context: It is being widely reported that Lee has stepped down from all of his positions on the boards of many of KKR’s portfolio companies. Back in September KKR was one of the major financiers behind a S$300M investment round received by PropertyGuru which has allowed the company to go on an acquisition and marketing offensive.

 

Appointments

Who: Francisco Sierra has been hired as the General Manager of Casavo Spain.

Context: With a background in the alternative banking sector as a Director of N26, Sierra has been hired to head up one of the companies pioneering iBuying in Europe. Launched in 2017 in Milan, Casavo expanded to Spain early last year and currently operates in Madrid with plans to rapidly expand to other cities.

 

Who: Gary Barker, who is universally described as “a respected figure” in the British industry press, has been hired as CTO at the country’s largest agency group Connells.

Context: Barker was named as CEO of upstart portal Boomin in September but left the post shortly after citing family reasons. As a former CEO of leading agency software company Reapit and the Head of IT at Countrywide Barker is ideally suited to his new role of CTO at Connells. The UK’s biggest agency Group recently had its proposed acquisition of fellow agency giant Countrywide approved by shareholders and is now reportedly on a drive to transform the firm’s use of technology.

For their part, Boomin don’t seem to hold a grudge against Barker and the portal’s co-founder Michael Bruce told Property Industry Eye that:

“Gary has always been a friend to Boomin and remains an active supporter and advocate for change. He looks like a good choice, for what is likely to be a big project and on behalf of the entire Boomin team I wish him well.”

Edmund Keith

February 19, 2021

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Acerca de Lucas Vargas:

  • Empezó en Grupo ZAP como el VP de Sales y en 2016 cuando la empresa tenía 60 empleados. Fue nombrado COO de VivaReal tomando el mando de Brian Requarth el Co-Fundador. VivaReal lanzó en Colombia y se trasladó a Brasil. En 2017 se hizo CEO del Grupo ZAP.
  • Ha trabajado en Mexico en PWC y en el Banco Santander
  • Tiene un Master de Business Administration de Harvard
  • En noviembre este año después de la fusión de OLX Brasil y Grupo ZAP fue nombrado el CEO del OLX Business Unit. Lidera la empresa junto con Andries Oudshoorn y Marcos Leite
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Simon Baker is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Online Marketplaces and Property Portal Watch. Involved with property portals for 15 years, he’s a well-recognized expert and industry consultant.
As former CEO/MD of the REA Group for 8 years, Simon led the group to its current market-leading position. When he joined REA Group in 2001, it had $4m in revenues, $6m in losses and an $8m market cap.
By 2008, the company presided over $155m in revenues, $35m in EBITDA and enjoyed a peak market cap of $1b. Simon is currently Chairman of the Mitula Group and Real Estate Investar and a serial portal founder and, investor.