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Nigel O’Neil’s next move: Where he’s off to and what he’s most proud of achieving at Barry Plant

Outgoing Barry Plant Chief Executive Officer Nigel O’Neil plans to spend some time with his family and will likely continue his career as a change CEO when he leaves the real estate network.

The group announced late Monday that Mr O’Neil was stepping down after four years with the business, including 16 months as CEO.

Director Mike McCarthy has been appointed acting CEO.

Today Mr O’Neil said no date had been set for his departure but when it came he was looking forward to hitting the “pause button” for a few months.

“I want to spend some time with my family,” he said.

“I have a wife and three kids, so I’m going to spend a lovely couple of months away doing stuff with them and then I’ll bring my mind and focus back to work.”

Mr O’Neil said he was already being approached with future work opportunities, but he hadn’t made any decisions.

He said while he loved real estate, he wasn’t sure if he’d stay in the industry or not.

“I love real estate,” he said.

“But really I’m a fixer, I’m a change CEO and I love fixing businesses.

“Real estate is just one of many industries I’ve been involved in, and that I love getting involved in and fixing.

“For me, inside or outside of real estate, if there’s a challenge to fix then I want to fix it.”

Mr O’Neil said there were many things he was proud of achieving in his time at Barry Plant, but the most rewarding was that he would leave with an excellent head office team in place.

“The head office team and culture is fantastic now,” he said.

“I’m very happy that I’m leaving it in good hands in terms of the team that’s working there.

“That took a bit of time to get right, but I’m very proud of that team and I’m happy leaving, knowing those guys are very capable in what they’re doing.

Mr O’Neil said he would also look back on his time as “Captain Covid” and leading the group through the pandemic favourably.

“I’m very proud of the way that we, as a group, managed that very well,” he said.

He said he was also proud of the team for developing and launching its own registered training organisation from concept to launch within 14 months.

The training initiative followed a major overhaul of real estate qualifications in Victoria.

Finally, Mr O’Neil said during his tenure the group had transformed its focus on the customer experience, including for sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants.

He said Net Promoter Score, or NPS, was the benchmark they used and this filtered down to group leaders and agents across both sales and property management.

“As of next year, all of our awards are aligned to the customer service element of our sales agents and our property managers,” Mr O’Neil said.

“We will still have the agent that sold the most homes and the agent that sold the highest value of homes, but we’re also going to have new categories such as the purchaser agent of the year, in terms of customer service, the vendor agent of the year and the property manager of the year in terms of their portfolio and the best NPS scores from landlords and tenants.

“It’s about how many raving fans you’re creating and that determines how much future business you’re going to get.

“I think we’re leading the way in real estate in trying to be more predictive of success going forward, rather than just looking in the rearview mirror saying, ‘You did well’.”

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Deputy Editor at Elite Agent.