By Scott K MacLeod

A former Otago rugby player will take over one of the Bay's top real estate jobs.

Simon Anderson, 53, will assume the role of chief executive of Realty Group, which owns the Eves and Bayleys real estate brands, on April 3.

He will replace Ross Stanway, who is retiring.

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Mr Anderson, who describes himself as "a country boy", was born in Alexandra in Central Otago and educated at Lincoln College. He played rugby for Otago as an outside back from 1986 to 1989, then played three seasons of club rugby in Cape Town, South Africa, as a flanker.

Upon his return to New Zealand he joined the BNZ in Otago, transferring to the Bay of Plenty in 1999 as senior rural manager. In 2002, he joined Bayleys to develop and manage the country sales team in the Bay of Plenty. In 2014 he took on the additional position of national manager of Bayleys Country, a role which regularly takes him out of the Bay.

Mr Anderson stressed that, despite his rugby loyalties, he considered himself to be a local.

"When the Bay of Plenty plays Otago in rugby, I have this little pull back towards Otago," he said. "But the Bay is home to me now."

Mr Anderson planned to continue the group's focus on growth and "employing good people". There were plans to open new offices in Hamilton.

Mr Anderson has a partner, Robyn, and three daughters, aged 16, 18 and 20.

Another rugby man is set to take over a senior role with the group.

Matt Clutterbuck, 32, who has played for the Steamers and the All Blacks Sevens, will join Bayleys on December 5 as the sales manager for Bayleys Country in the Bay of Plenty. Mr Clutterbuck is currently a rural manager for ASB in Tauranga.

Realty Group employs 450 people in the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Taranaki.

Mr Stanway, who has been a regular commentator on the Bay property market, will step down as chief executive at the end of March.