Nigel O’Neil takes the reins at Woodards

Nigel O’Neil has been named as the new Chief Executive Officer at Woodards, with network growth and developing the next generation of agents firmly in his sights.

Speaking after the announcement today, Mr O’Neil revealed Woodards would launch a two-year pilot cadet program in April to help the group’s offices train agents.

“What we’re doing is helping our offices to develop new cadets into our industry, understanding that their time pressures make it difficult for them to do the end-to-end part of teaching them how to prospect, teaching them how to list, teaching them how to negotiate and more,” he said.

“All that you need to do for cadets, for brand new cadets, is challenging, so we’re going to try and help fill that gap for them.

“It’s still them leading them but we will help them with some of the skillsets.”

Outgoing CEO John Piccolo will move into an Executive Chairman role. 

Mr O’Neil described Mr Piccolo as a “positive, energetic and good man” and he felt Woodards was the right cultural fit for him when he joined the team 12 months ago.

“I’ve been at a senior level at a number of different real estate groups and I can honestly say Woodards is unique,” he said.

“It’s very unique because the mantra of ‘doing the right thing’ comes from the top and that’s why I was very attracted to the role.

“That simple mantra permeates throughout the whole group – ‘what’s the right thing to do’?

“I think, for me, that is something that is unique in our world and it’s something I really warm to.”

Mr O’Neil said Woodards was entering an exciting growth phase and had recently extended its reach with new offices in Dromana, to service the Mornington Peninsula market and Croydon, as the gateway to the Yarra Ranges.

He said he was looking forward to further building the group’s presence even further.

“The group is at that perfect growth stage for me,” Mr O’Neil said.

“It’s sort of a well-hidden secret in the Victorian landscape, so I’m looking to make sure that what we do and do well, that more people know about it, so more like-minded people can come and join us.”

But Mr O’Neil said the growth would be strategic and not simply for the sake of growing.

“Our goal is to reach 30 offices by 2030,” he said.

“So we don’t want to grow aggressively, it’s more in a measured way, with the right people.”

Mr O’Neil comes to the role with 17 years of experience, including as CEO of major real estate brands, and is only the fifth Woodards CEO in more than 100 years.

Mr O’Neil has large footsteps to fill, with Mr Piccolo at the helm of the network for 22 years. 

He will move into the role of Executive Chairman, focusing on strategy and growth. 

This will also allow him to pursue his various philanthropic interests and continue his role as a Director of the Woodards Foundation and Ambassadormof the St Vincent de Paul Society (Vinnies) CEO Sleepout. 

Both of these causes raise funds to assist the homeless and women and families affected by domestic violence to find a safe place to live and soup vans to feed those in need.

“Having been with the Group for over 12 months now, Nigel’s experience and energy render him an exceptional fit for the organisation, as it seeks to expand its footprint in the years ahead,” Mr Piccolo said.

“Nigel has a strong understanding of the market and its dynamics and where we are as a business. 

“We are equally excited by the opportunities ahead for the Woodards Group.”

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.