Harcourts appoints new COO

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REAL estate franchise Harcourts has appointed industry veteran and former Ray White executive Lisa Pennell to the newly created role of chief operations officer Australia as the company enjoys rapid growth and set its sights on becoming the largest franchise group.

Harcourts Australia CEO Marcus Williams said like many Australian businesses, Harcourts recalibrated its market approach in 2020 and used that time as an opportunity to fine-tune the suite of resources offered to the Harcourts franchise network, seeing the investment pay off in increased revenue for franchise offices and their teams.

“Harcourts Group Australia has grown rapidly in a short amount of time to achieve the third largest real estate franchise group position,” he said, adding that the group is poised to soon take over the second position.

Pennell’s appointment comes on the heels of recent leadership team expansions, including naming Christian Hamilton to head of auctions – Australia, and Karmen Costigan to head of property management – Australia, both newly created strategic roles.

“As a high-profile industry expert, we engaged Lisa in her capacity as a consultant on some important strategic projects late last year.

“It is a real coup to add her enviable track record of success and impressive mix of skills to the role, including strategy, negotiation, crisis management, leadership and marketing. I am thrilled to say she will be a great asset to our team,” he added.

“Lisa’s appointment as COO is the next step in our aim to be #1 in Australia.” Williams said.

With more than 20 years’ experience, Pennell was most recently head of marketing at Ray White.

“The biggest risk to any business in the current landscape is to have a brand gap, where the business capability does not match the customer promise or expectation. Market success in any industry often leads to complacency – it happened most recently with Holden, a previously dominating force in the car industry, we saw it with Nokia in the telco industry, and Kodak even before that,” Pennell said.

“I’m looking forward to working closely with Marcus, as well as the rest of the 120-member corporate team and 400-plus office network in Australia,” she concluded.

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