Mortgage Choice CEO confirmed amid REA overhaul

REA Group has commenced a group-wide restructure, with leadership changes including the chief of major brokerage Mortgage Choice.

REA Group has declared new changes to its organisational structure, under its growth strategy.

As part of the reforms, Mortgage Choice interim chief executive Anthony Waldron has been confirmed as CEO, financial services and Mortgage Choice. He will also join REA’s executive leadership team.

He has a reported 25 years’ experience in financial services, mortgage broking and business development.

Previously, Mr Waldron was an executive with NAB, where he was last executive for data, analytics and strategic execution, after being acting chief customer officer for consumer banking.

He had also been executive general manager for broker relationships.

Mr Waldron has succeeded Janelle Hopkins, who led the growth of the group’s financial services businesses over the last three years, including the acquisition of Mortgage Choice and its integration with Smartline, in addition to her responsibilities as group chief financial officer.

Owen Wilson, CEO of REA called the greater structural changes an important step in simplifying and aligning its structure to the group’s growth agenda.

“Our consumer, customer and data marketplaces are becoming more interdependent than ever, underpinned by Australia’s largest and most engaged audience of property seekers,” Mr Wilson explained.

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“To unlock the full potential of the group our new structure enables us to fully leverage our scale and the increasing connectivity of our growing marketplaces.”

The CEO also noted that financial services is a “core pillar” to REA’s strategy.

“Anthony will lead the next phase of growth and innovation within our mortgage broking and digital direct lending businesses,” Mr Wilson said.

“He brings significant experience having led NAB’s presence in the mortgage and finance broking market.”

In addition to the financial services update, PropTrack CEO Melina Cruickshank will lead a newly combined product and audience group segment as chief product & audience officer, with accountability for consumer product, audience and marketing and PropTrack.

Ms Cruickshank has been with REA for three years and has previously led the product, marketing, content and tech teams.

“REA has achieved unrivalled scale with realestate.com.au, the clear number one address for property, and the sixth largest online brand in Australia,” Mr Wilson said.

“This large and engaged audience is critical in driving our business, and the connection of the product, marketing and data portfolios will put us in a strong position to deliver our next phase of growth.”

As a result of the product and marketing portfolios being consolidated, REA’s chief consumer product officer Val Brown is set to leave the business, after 13 years.

Meanwhile, chief people officer Mary Lemonis’ remit will formally expand to people & sustainability.

Henry Ruiz will continue to lead strategy and the recently launched property.com.au site as chief strategy officer and CEO, REAx.

Last week, REA Group revealed planned to grow its financial services unit, with ambitions to increase its broker volumes and loan books.

It has also planned to recruit more brokers.

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