Dougan Jones is gone from Prudential
November 13, 2009
Prudential Utah Real Estate has a new head: Stephen Roney. People from Prudential will talk about his 30 years of experience in the industry, they’ll tout the fact that he was president and CEO of Coldwell Banker’s Residential Relocation Services and then president and CEO of First American Corporation’s Residential Group and its subsidiary MarketLinx, a multi-listing service Microsoft claims is used by almost half of all Realtors in North America (including the Park City Board of Realtors). They might even mention he already owns two homes in Park City.
But they are reluctant to say what happened to the previous head: Dougan Jones.
Jones founded Prudential Utah Real Estate in 2001 with partner Joel Carson after buying out Bill Coleman’s firm. Some of today’s most successful Park City real estate teams operate under the Prudential banner.
On Nov. 9, Jones was out. The only explanations offered are unsubstantiated.
Park City Board of Realtors president Lincoln Calder said he knows Roney through MarketLinx, but that’s it.
About Roney, Calder said, "We wish him well. We’re excited to have him as a member. We can’t comment on what happened or what we think of him."
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Prudential sent a press release Friday announcing Roney and sent a few audio clips to brokers, agents and staff. Earl Lee, president of Prudential Real Estate, commended the Utah offices for consistently ranking in the top "echelons" nationally for sales.
"I’ve known Steve for many years. He’s always been a very strong business person with a sterling reputation in our industry," Lee said in the audio clip. "He’s a person perfectly suited to high performing sales teams."
Roney himself said in a separate clip, "I’m committed to ensuring the continued success of this great team Rest assured, my commitment is to provide you with the encouragement, respect and support you deserve all in an environment of openness, teamwork and integrity. I know the past few years have been incredibly challenging and you have endured from many vantage points one of the most difficult business times in memory. I truly believe the future is bright, I can’t wait to get started."
In the press release, Roney said that his immediate goal is to increase market share at each of the company’s offices. The release also said he is recruiting top sales professionals. It does not say anything about how the change could affect current agents.
Regional manager Chris Robinson said a large meeting with Roney on Wednesday went well and he was received positively, but deferred to him on how the recent changes could affect local agents.
Roney and his wife Karen have registered a home on Sterling Drive as a primary residence. They also own a condominium on Mellow Mountain Road. He said they plan to move to Park City full time.
Roney said Friday he did not have time this week for an interview but promised more about the change would be made public next week.
In a past interview with FrogPond.com found on the Internet that he believes the future will require better online tools for real estate professionals.
As buyers and sellers have come to utilize the Internet more and more to participate in the market, they are demanding better value from their Realtors in return for their fees, says an article about the product at Microsoft.com. MarketLinx was designed to provide that additional value through better information technology.
The entity’s website explains, "The company’s full array of capabilities streamlines the real estate listing, financing and closing processes, resulting in increased efficiency and profitability.
He also told FrogPond.com that acquisitions were an important part of First American’s innovative business strategies.
It isn’t clear if Roney will bring those strategies to Prudential Utah, or if his career change was prompted by a desire for change.
Major competitor Summit Sothebys International Realty’s Thomas Wright, president, said he was surprised by the news but wishes Prudential success.
Even though it’s a big change for Prudential, Wright said he’s comfortable with where Sotheby’s is right now with its luxury brand, global marketing reach and its own new online initiatives.
"We’re utilizing the traditional high-end brand of Sotheby’s with new and innovative online tools and techniques to uniquely position ourselves to be a market leader in Park City," he said.
He said he knows Roney from his work with Coldwell Banker’s relocation division.
Wright thought that a transition would take place as the previous leaders, who he described as progressive, are replaced.
"It will be interesting to see how the new management style will compare to the previous owners," he said.
Local attorney Joe Wrona said he represents several Prudential agents, brokers and people who work with Prudential. He said he got a steady stream of calls starting Monday night about the change.
"My understanding is action was taken by Extreme Holdings L.L.C. (for which Prudential Utah Real Estate is a ‘doing business as’ name) to take the membership interests of Dougan Jones and Joel Carson and Tuesday morning install Steve Roney," he said. "When these kinds of changes occur, they are usually long overdue and usually result in a very positive outcome for the company in question. I believe this change will improve Prudential Utah Real Estate’s ability to compete not only in the Park City real estate market but also on the Wasatch Front. My clients are reacting very positively to the change that has occurred," Wrona said.