COSTA MESA — Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, the nation's fourth-largest franchiser of residential real estate offices, has snagged Stephen E. Bauer, a top franchising executive from rival Coldwell Banker Residential Affiliate, to succeed Wilbert F. Schwartz as president.
Schwartz has been named vice chairman of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates and will concentrate on strategic and financial planning, a company spokesman said.
Bauer, who has been president of Mission Viejo-based Coldwell Banker Residential since March, 1987, is the third former Coldwell officer that Prudential has recruited in the past month in a drive to strengthen its presence in the highly competitive brokerage franchising market.
Prudential said Thursday it also has hired Jeff Travelstead, head of computer systems development for Coldwell from 1984 until 1989, to serve as vice president for information technology. Travelstead, who starts April 29, now is vice president of information services at Avco Financial Services in Irvine.
Last month, Prudential announced that it had hired Coldwell's then-relocation services director, Steve Ozonian, as its new senior vice president for marketing.
A Prudential spokesman refused Thursday to characterize the recruiting drive as a raid on Coldwell, a Sears subsidiary and the nation's No. 3 residential realty chain.
At Coldwell, where Bauer was president of the franchise operations that accounted for about 70% of the company's 1,900 domestic brokerage offices, a spokeswoman said Bauer's departure was "amicable."
Coldwell has a policy of promoting from within and intends to announce Bauer's replacement early next week, she said.