"The Ten" Ryan Schneider, President and CEO, Anywhere
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News

The Ten: How Ryan Schneider’s big bet paid off 

As lawsuits bogged down many industry players, Anywhere’s CEO made the decision to settle, positioning his company to focus on profitability and the path ahead.

December 27, 2023
3 minutes

Editor's Note: In a historic year shaped by trials — of all kinds — a handful of people and themes have emerged as defining forces. Real Estate News has selected the top newsmakers of 2023 who have left a mark on the industry or shown perseverance in the face of epic challenges and opportunities. They are The Ten.

In the latter half of 2023, lawsuits that could radically reshape the industry have forced many real estate leaders to defend themselves, their companies and fundamental ways of doing business.  

And while NAR and others have vowed to fight on and appeal, even as cases mount, Anywhere CEO Ryan Schneider took a dramatically different step and chose to settle. As the first company to do so, the decision was seen by some as a big gamble — but it ultimately paid off for the brokerage giant and for Schneider personally.

In the settlement, Anywhere agreed to make significant changes to its commissions practices and pay $83.5 million to the home sellers involved in three class action suits: Moehrl, Sitzer/Burnett and Nosalek. While the payout was substantial, settling was pitched as the most cost-effective path forward, and one which would free the company from the distraction of litigation.

"We believe this is the right course of action to remove future uncertainty and ongoing legal expense, serving the best interests of the company," Schneider said when the details of the settlement were released in October.

During the company's third-quarter earnings call, Schneider touched on the topic again, telling investors that settling would allow Anywhere to put "significant litigation behind us" and "set Anywhere up for powerful momentum as the housing market improves."

A $5 million bonus after cutting a path through "a challenging year"

The company's focus on moving forward follows a period of steep losses earlier in the year. In March, Schneider told Real Estate News that he expected business to be down 15-20% and said the company was "planning conservatively for a challenging year."

Schneider's bold decision not only spared the company the expense and burden of prolonged court battles, it appeared to please Anywhere's board of directors. In November, the board rewarded Schneider for his handling of the lawsuits with a $5 million cash bonus

Beyond settling the lawsuits, the board acknowledged Schneider's leadership and efforts to reduce costs and focus on efficiency. During the Q3 earnings release, the company said it had achieved $60 million in realized cost savings and reduced debt by $281 million.

Under Schneider's leadership, Anywhere has also elevated women leaders to top positions in the company. Sue Yannaccone, CEO of Anywhere Brands, moved into an expanded role in December 2022. In addition to her brand leadership, Yannaccone continues to be involved in What Moves Her, a mentoring network for women in real estate she founded in 2020. And in March, Anywhere appointed Kamini Lane as president and CEO of Coldwell Banker Realty, and expanded the leadership role of Liz Gehringer, president of Coldwell Banker Affiliates, to include Better Home and Gardens Real Estate, CENTURY 21 and ERA Real Estate.

Schneider told Real Estate News in December that he believes Anywhere is ready for what comes next, in 2024 and beyond. 

"A challenging market and changing industry dynamics leveled the playing field for all, and we seized the opportunity to leverage our distinct advantages — our integrated business, powerful scale, profitability, ability to invest, and bench of influential leaders — to position Anywhere to lead the industry into the future."

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