Broker Q&A: Paul Breunich - William Pitt • Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty
Posted by — August 27, 2015
Paul Breunich, President and Chief Executive Officer of William Pitt and Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty, shares how he got his start in the real estate business, the path his career has taken and what makes his company so successful. Paul has led William Pitt and Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty through its most explosive growth cycle, opening up 12 new offices, expanding into new markets, introducing the pineapple icon, and securing the Sotheby’s International Realty affiliation for Connecticut as well as bringing in Building and Land Technology as an equity partner to position the company for future growth. Under Paul’s leadership, the company has become the largest Sotheby’s International Realty affiliate worldwide, the third-fastest growing real estate company in the nation and the 23rd largest real estate company nationally. Paul and his company are the newest addition to the Who's Who in Luxury Real Estate Board of Regents.
How did you start in real estate?
I had been working in public accounting for six years when I was approached for the position of Chief Financial Officer with William Pitt Real Estate in Stamford, Connecticut. I was a native of Stamford and very familiar with the company, one of the premier names in Connecticut real estate, and the industry had always interested me. So I interviewed with William Pitt himself in the summer of 1988, and the rest is history.
What path has your career taken?
Mr. Pitt, who was chairman and owner of the firm, asked me to become President and CEO of William Pitt Real Estate in 1997, after I had served as the CFO for nine years. Then, in 2001, I acquired the company from his estate. In the years since we have grown tremendously, becoming a member of Sotheby’s International Realty’s worldwide network of affiliated firms in 2005, and significantly expanding our operations with acquisitions in Westchester County, N.Y. and Litchfield County, Conn. in 2009. This move led us to become one of the top 25 companies in the country by sales volume, and today we are also the largest Sotheby’s International Realty affiliate globally.
Why is your company successful?
For me, there are two reasons that stand out above all others. First, I am a firm believer in drawing upon the wisdom of the group. When you have the best people on your team, and a receptive forum where everyone at the table has a voice, you can greatly benefit from all of the experience, expertise and creativity surrounding you. Our work environment involves robust dialogue, keeping an open mind and leaving our egos at the door in order to make the best decisions and arrive at the best solutions for every problem we face. Second, we are part of the most prestigious real estate brand in the world, allowing us to achieve broader exposure than any other firm for our listings. The advantages of being part of this brand are incomparable, including a legendary heritage, access to a global referral network of 800 offices throughout 61 countries and territories, an exquisite online presentation, exclusive media partnerships, global print and digital advertising, and much more.
What are your favorite parts of your job?
Without a doubt, my favorite part is using that wisdom of the group philosophy to devise innovative ways of dealing with challenging situations, with the end result of achieving a competitive edge in the marketplace. I also enjoy seeing the development of our employees and our agents, and encouraging their growth by allowing them to be themselves.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I most enjoy spending time with my children, in addition to traveling, golfing and cycling.