REA Group marketing chief role extended as part of executive leadership changes

Melina Cruickshank gains extended remit at the realestate.com.au owner

REA Group has extended the remit of its chief marketing and audience officer as one of several executive leadership changes announced this week.

Melina Cruickshank has been with the digital media business since early 2019, appointed initially as chief audience and marketing officer before also gaining stewardship of REA’s PropTrack B2B property data and analytics business in November 2020. Her efforts spearheading marketing and audience engagement saw Cruickshank recognised among the top 10 CMOs in the 2021 edition of the CMO50 list.

Under the latest executive changes, effective 1 July 2022, Cruickshank will oversee as combined product and audience group as chief product and audience officer, with accountability for consumer product, customer product, audience and marketing and PropTrack.

“REA has achieved unrivalled scale with realestate.com.au the clear number one address for property, and the sixth largest online brand in Australia. This large and engaged audience is critical in driving our business, and the connection of the product, marketing and data portfolios will put us in a strong position to deliver our next phase of growth,” REA Group CEO, Owen Wilson, stated.

“Melina has made a tremendous impact in her three years at REA, with extensive experience leading product, marketing, content and tech teams, and has a clear vision for mobilising the newly formed product and audience Group.”

The move will see chief product officer, Val Brown, exit REA Group business after a 13-year tenure including five years at the product helm. Wilson thanked Brown for her contribution to the business.

“Val’s leadership, vision and commitment have had a significant impact on many areas of the business during this time. I wish her the very best for her next chapter,” he said.

REA Group also confirmed Andrew Waldron, who has been interim CEO for Mortgage Choice since REA completed its acquisition of the business 12 months ago, as CEO of financial service and Mortgage Choice. The decision elevates Waldron to the executive leadership team. He’s succeeding Janelle Hopkins, who has been overseeing the financial services business over the last three years in addition to her role as CFO.

A third executive change is to Mary Lemonis’ remit. The company said the chief people and sustainability officer’s remit is being formally extended to reflect her leadership of sustainability and work across a range of ESG initiatives.

Finally, REA confirmed strategy chief, Henry Ruiz, retained his position on the leadership team as well as at the helm of the recently launched property.com.au property research site as chief strategy officer and CEO of REAx.

Wilson said the changes are an important step in simplifying and aligning structure to the Group’s growth agenda.

“Our consumer, customer and data marketplaces are becoming more interdependent than ever, underpinned by Australia’s largest and most engaged audience of property seekers. To unlock the full potential of the group, our new structure enables us to fully leverage our scale and the increasing connectivity of our growing marketplaces,” he said.

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