There's been a passing of the torch at a Whanganui real estate company as its long-time manager retires.
Ritesh Verma, head of Team Ritesh, is stepping up as Property Brokers Whanganui branch manager with the retirement of long-time leader Philip Kubiak.
Kubiak is stepping away after 12 years at the helm, with Verma thrust into the lead role.
"It's a transition from the old spearhead to the young buck," Verma said.
Kubiak said it has been on the cards for a few months and now was the right time.
"The decision just seemed the right one, not only for me but for the branch as well," Kubiak said.
"Change is good. I'm comfortable with change and it just felt like the right time to do something different with my wife, Heather."
Verma said Kubiak's retirement caught him off-guard and he had envisioned it would be a few more years before he became branch manager.
"It was probably about two years away from when I was planning," Verma said.
"We were really kicking off as Team Ritesh, we were really humming."
The Team Ritesh members will continue working together as Team McGhie, with Bruce McGhie taking the lead.
Verma said the success the office had under Kubiak's leadership shows what he brought to the company.
"Phil has been branch manager for the last 12 years and it has been a really successful office. One of New Zealand's most successful, regardless of brand," Verma said.
Kubiak noted the growth in market share during his reign, with Property Brokers sitting around 12 per cent when he became branch manager.
"We grew that within a couple of years to 40 per cent to 50 per cent and occasionally hit 55 per cent and 60 per cent market share, which is kind of unheard in a provincial city, and maintained that market share and dominance over the past 11 years."
Property Brokers Whanganui has won the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) Medium Residential Office of the Year - Volume in four of the last five years. The award is given to a New Zealand office with fewer than 20 staff that sells the most houses.
Verma said it will be difficult replacing the calming presence that Kubiak bought to the company.
"He is a real good people manager. He's calm and his general presence will be missed. He has been in the industry a long time and that experience is one of the big things we will miss."
Although he is now branch manager, Verma said he will still be hands-on with sales.
"I am a bit of a public figure so I'd like to use that for our entire team to make sure they can use that to their advantage.
"People can still ring me and talk to me about real estate. Nothing has changed in that sense."
After 16 years in the real estate business and 11 years at Property Brokers Whanganui, Verma is excited about the challenge ahead of him.
"I'm a sales driven person, a very driven type person. I'm going to have to rein that in a little in terms of driving the team.
"That's the exciting thing. I'm coming in with new enthusiasm and years of experience as well."
Verma said his history in working in different environments and real estate climates has him in good stead as the country recovers from Covid-19.
"I've seen the global financial crisis and witnessed all those tough times, and they could potentially be on their way, we don't know.
"We have someone at the helm that is experienced in different market places and understands real estate marketing."
Verma wants to continue building on the strong foundation Kubiak has laid down over the last 12 years.
"Philip has established a fantastic culture within the office and it's about me continuing that and keeping it going and take it to the next level."