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Bright MLS Becomes First Multiple Listing Service To Hire Chief Data Officer

Thomas Morgan’s appointment aims to “redefine what it means to be an MLS” and falls in line with other high-profile hires this year that are also at least somewhat unusual for an MLS.

The nation’s second-largest multiple listing service has become the first to hire a chief data officer, a newly-created position meant to transform the way the company manages data and develops data policy.

Thomas Morgan

Bright MLS, which has more than 100,000 subscribers in six states in the mid-Atlantic region, has appointed Thomas Morgan to the role. Morgan had previously served as chief data officer for Anywhere Real Estate since 2018.

“It’s a critical time in our industry, and Bright’s strategic priorities are all underpinned by data,” said Brian Donnellan, Bright president and CEO, in a statement.

Brian Donnellan

“Driving market-differentiating outcomes [for subscribers] in today’s complex real estate industry requires access to reliable and up-to-date data as well as the ability to turn data into useful information, insights and, ultimately, action.”

Morgan’s hiring comes on the heels of other high-profile hires at Bright this year that are also at least somewhat unusual for an MLS, including a chief economist, a chief marketing officer, and a vice president of strategic alliances and partnerships. To Bright’s knowledge, no other MLS has a chief data officer, Bright spokesperson Christy Reap told Inman via email.

Melissa King held the VP position for less than a year before accepting a position as COO for OneKey MLS. Bright is “actively in conversations with prospective candidates” to replace her, Reap said.

From his time at Anywhere, as well as previous engineering stints at ZapLabs, Nielsen Company, and Appdynamics, among other companies, Morgan brings expertise on big data platform architectures, machine learning and data analytics to Bright, according to an announcement.

Frank Major

“Tom’s cloud-native data and analytics leadership is exactly what we need to help bring strategic changes to how we look, manage and care for our data while further developing and strengthening our products and service,” said Frank Major, Bright’s chief technology officer, in a statement.

Bright launched five years ago as a result of a merger of two MLSs that had been in existence for decades. Bright decided to establish the chief data officer position this year to “acknowledge and address the increasing importance of high-quality data and analytics across the entire home buying journey,” Reap said.

“Morgan will focus on providing data, analytics, and insights to deliver subscriber value and empower strategic partner relationships,” Reap added.

In a statement, Morgan said he was excited to bring his expertise to “a company that’s redefining what it means to be an MLS.”

Asked how Bright is doing this, Reap told Inman, “MLSs have traditionally focused on listings. Bright is continuing a path to evaluate the entire home buying experience, not just listings management, and support subscribers with product features that allow them to be competitive across the entire journey.

“In addition, Bright is partnering with others and taking a leadership role in a variety of ventures that benefit MLSs across the entire industry.”

According to Reap, examples of these partnerships are REdistribute, a joint venture with California Regional MLS that plans to aggregate MLS data and sell it to financial institutions in 2023, and a separate tech collaboration deal the two MLSs inked in January.

Email Andrea V. Brambila.

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