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In his first public statement since departing his CEO position at Coldwell Banker, M. Ryan Gorman on Thursday committed to focusing on affordable housing and shunned financial reward as a driving force behind his second act.
“When neighborhoods lack broad diversity, truly mutual understanding is impossible,” Gorman wrote Thursday in a post on Medium announcing his pivot into homebuilding and revealing his “termination” from Coldwell Banker late last year. “When access to housing is not equitable, access to opportunity is unequal. And when the roof over one’s head is insecure, even total certainty in every other aspect of life may not be enough to thrive.”
Gorman, who served as CEO of Coldwell Banker for three years before being removed from the post in December, penned the open letter to shed light on his personal life, included new details about his separation from Coldwell, a subsidiary of Anywhere.
Gorman said he was motivated to help people, and that his departure from Coldwell Banker has given him the opportunity to focus on development projects and btcRE, a real estate consultancy firm he founded more than a decade ago.
Without going into much detail about what he called “my recent termination,” he suggested multiple times that the decision to leave Coldwell Banker wasn’t his.
“The path home has been cleared,” he wrote, “not by choice, yet cleared nonetheless.”
The letter mixed his personal philosophy, his plans for the immediate future and his gratitude toward Coldwell Banker and Anywhere, where he worked for nearly two decades.
He had long avoided embarking on real estate development while working at Coldwell Banker, he said, due to perceived conflicts of interest.
Gorman said he would put more attention to btcRE, the real estate consultancy firm he founded in Boston. He said his firm would focus on “affordable, accessible, and equitable housing.”
That will include site development, property management and likely lobbying for policies that make it easier to create affordable housing in all neighborhoods, he wrote.
“We will redevelop properties to create housing that is affordable in every respect, including access to efficient energy, transportation, and even grocery alternatives,” he said. “We will accept advisory appointments, investment opportunities, and even speaking engagements with housing organizations that share our values to forward the mission. We will be vocal and relentless advocates for logical policy improvements that transcend politics to deliver on the promise of shelter for all.”
Gorman’s letter lamented America’s history of often outright racism and discrimination in the housing industry. He promised to lead by example with btcRE.
“Centuries of systemic discrimination — from deeded racial covenants to redlining to more insidious methods — have ingrained generational disparities,” Gorman wrote. “More recent local, state, and federal regulations are sometimes well-intentioned yet misguided and incohesive, further restricting entry-level supply and pushing quality housing options further out of reach.”
He didn’t suggest his next act is a departure from his work at Coldwell Banker, but rather a continuation and evolution of it.
“I absolutely crave a community to serve, and I will not give an inch on ethics,” he wrote. “I am a missionary, not a mercenary, and I look forward to this next mission to benefit communities I am eager to serve with a partner I trust completely.”
Gorman’s letter was filled with references to his mission of servitude, not simply earning money.
“To me, money is for helping people, nothing more, nothing less,” he said, noting he left jobs in both Wall Street (where he worked at Blackstone) and Silicon Valley (Credit Suisse).
“I have a bicycle, not a car; one house, no boat,” he wrote. “My idea of indulgence is a long morning walk with AirPods, Audible, and iced tea.”
While he shed new light on his separation from Coldwell Banker, Gorman didn’t express any ill will toward the firm, saying he was “blessed to call Coldwell Banker home,” and “did not take a moment of my CB service for granted.”
“I am positively bursting with gratitude for our time together,” he wrote. “I have countless fond memories, a tremendous sense of collective accomplishment, and a richness of friendships beyond measure. I am forever indebted to Coldwell Banker.”
He said his mission is to strive for integrity over everything else in business.
“The values of Coldwell Banker and Realogy always aligned with this worldview,” he wrote.
Among his several expressions of gratitude toward his former employees at Coldwell Banker and Anywhere, Gorman included an admission of guilt, of sorts.
“Nearly every good idea for which I was given credit in the press came from those doing the work daily in the field — our agents, our brokers, and those who serve them — not from me,” he wrote. “I merely had the patience to listen and the position to amplify promising voices over the din.”