CoreLogic CEO: Why Foundational Support Comes from the Top

A Conversation with CoreLogic CEO Pat Dodd

Seasonal changes affect the property industry. They also affect companies. As summer arrives, CoreLogic is commemorating its one-year mark as a private company that is also now under the leadership of CEO Pat Dodd.

To discover what all this change means for the business, host Maiclaire Bolton Smith sits down with Pat to discuss who he is as a leader, investigate what it is like to guide a private company and discover the insights he has gained about the property market during the first months in his new position.

Maiclaire Bolton Smith:

Welcome back to Core Conversations: a CoreLogic Podcast, where we dive into the heart of what makes the property market tick. I’m Maiclaire Bolton Smith, your host and curious observer of all things related to property — from affordable housing to market trends and the impacts of natural disasters to climate change — I want to converse about it all.

For those who are not steeped in the minutiae of the property industry, it is worth noting that last year was a roller coaster. It was also a monumental year of change for us at CoreLogic. Across the property industry, skyrocketing prices shook everyone’s expectations of the future. Generous work from home policies prompted people to move en mass to new cities, altering forecasts across the board. Add in historically low interest rates that the federal government has recently begun increasing, and you have a recipe for simultaneous disruption and opportunity.

And during all of this, in June of 2021 CoreLogic was acquired by private equity. And then at the start of 2022, Pat Dodd was appointed CEO, marking the start of a new era for CoreLogic. During this period, the company also continued to grow, acquiring companies, including ClosingCorp and Next Gear Solutions.

Even with these changes taking place against a backdrop of pandemic-related challenges, it was a record-breaking year for the company. Going forward, change will remain inevitable. However, Pat has brought a fresh perspective to our company with a purposeful vision that will lead CoreLogic and our clients into a bright future. So, to better understand what Pat envisions the future to hold for both the proptech industry, as well as CoreLogic’s positioning within this rapidly evolving space, we’ve invited him here today to speak with us on Core Conversations.

Pat, I am honored. Welcome. Thank you for joining us today on Core Conversations.

Pat Dodd:

I’m thrilled to be here. I’m looking forward to the conversation.

MBS:

Okay. So let’s get started by getting to know you a little bit. Can you tell our listeners a little bit about your background and how you ended up at CoreLogic during such a pivotal period for the company?

PD:

Yeah, that’s a good question. First off, a little bit on me. I go by Pat and not Patrick, and I have a terrific family. Been married for 24 years but together for 30.

MBS:

Wow.

PD:

And I am a Canadian, but for the last 17 years, I have been living, working, having fun on three different continents, always in what I would call the B2B tech-data-analytics space, and I really enjoy that and thrilled that I’m here at CoreLogic. And when I think of CoreLogic, I’ve been in the information services or tech-enabled services industry for a while, been around lots of different companies that have been either bought, acquired, spun out. And I was always watching CoreLogic from afar but studying it very closely. So, when there was an opportunity to join the firm as the Chief Operating Officer about 18 months ago, did a lot of homework, did my own observations of the company before I made the leap. And I’ve never looked back. It’s been a great experience so far.

MBS:

Well, that’s so great. And it’s so great to get to know you a little bit more and, fun fact, one of the things I do appreciate about you is I am also Canadian. So, I love that we share that. And I like to say fun fact too: you and I actually attended the same university. Not at the same time. But are both alumni of Western as well.

PD:

Absolutely.

MBS:

Great to have you here and excited to dive into a little bit about what we’ve got coming for the future of CoreLogic. So what about the property industry makes it such an interesting space to work in? Because property is different than a lot of your background.

PD:

Yeah. As I was looking at this — and I’ve learned a lot more since I’ve been here for the last 18, 19 months now, really honored that I was asked to take over the company a few months ago — but one of the areas is… Industries that really have their fingertips and pulse around consumers and it’s very meaningful to them. So as you know, some of my background has been always working in the B2B space, working with large companies like an Amazon or a Facebook or an Alibaba or a Proctor and Gamble or a Netflix, thinking about how to provide products and services out to consumers. And that’s a very large asset class compared to property — it’s a symbol.

MBS:

Oh wow.

PD:

When you think about just the size. So I’m a researcher at heart studying CoreLogic from afar and now that I’m here, it’s got some really interesting attributes. It’s a very large asset class. We talk about that a lot. So it’s big. Probably what’s more dynamic is the word “dynamic” and exciting for me. It’s dynamic meaning there are a lot of changes happening. There’s a lot of variation even across the U.S., let alone Canada, let alone in Australia, let alone the U.K. I love the fact that it’s very competitive because there are a lot of clients interested in thinking about how could they help lift all boats in the property industry because there’s a lot of opportunity and it does touch on the consumer.

So, it is an industry that I believe, as I talk with industry participants, it is still ripe for transformation from a digitization perspective and really taking the friction out of finding, buying or protecting. Not just for millions of people. All people of all demographics should have a shot at owning a property because it’s a big part of just the overall wealth creation and the economy for everyone. So those are big things. So the fact we’re in such a big neighborhood of property and that CoreLogic over the last number of years has built so many great locations in that neighborhood, market-leading in some. In a few others, making our way to the perfect location. It’s pretty exciting.

MBS:

Well, that’s so great. Just tons of opportunity. And you’re right, there’s just something really powerful about helping people acquire the most important asset in many ways that’s helping them build their own financial wealth of buying a home. So excited to dive into this a little bit more with you. So, I guess if we focus on you a little bit more too, you have a very illustrious career. You did join us from the market research firm, Nielsen. And I’m just curious, what throughout your career, what has been the biggest surprise in your career?

PD:

I would probably say it’s not a surprise because I think learning as any leader in any company is really about being curious. And I would say the surprise, and maybe it’s because I’ve been able to work across a hundred markets, is the similarities of people but also those slight differences around the edges. And it’s finding those really what makes people, what energizes them to be innovative. And so what surprised me is how many similarities there were as opposed to differences because it’s easy to talk about the differences.

MBS:

Yeah.

PD:

But some of those attributes of really strong business leaders that have very different styles and how to make things work. So I tend to be a bit of a people watcher because at the end of the day, I do think it comes down to great teams that drive innovation and creativity. And so that’s probably been… Again the word “surprise” probably isn’t right, but it’s just more of an observation. And it takes all shapes and sizes if you know what I mean, demographics, introverts, extroverts, there are lots of different ways that I’ve seen teams come together and do things that no one thought possible. And it didn’t matter if it was a $10 million business or a $3 billion kind of enterprise-type organization. It’s a really interesting thing to think about, and that opportunity lies ahead for us at CoreLogic, too. We have a lot of those attributes, but leaning into that a little harder is quite important, I think, in terms of maintaining our market leadership and growth.

MBS:

Absolutely. And what an interesting global perspective to know that people are universal and while there are differences and there are unique things from different groups.

PD:

There are a lot of differences, but-

MBS:

Yeah.

PD:

If you really look down to a human being and what’s really important to them and really get down to it, at the end of the day, there’s usually four or five things and three or four of those usually cross over in my view. And it’s just finding out not the what but how. How they want to go about achieving those things, right, for their company and for themselves.

MBS:

Yeah. And I think that’s such a powerful observation that it’s not about the what, it’s about the how. So, I guess when we think about how, if we look at one last thing before we jump into some more CoreLogic content, if we think about you throughout your career, is there any specific advice that you were ever given either professionally or personally that you would look at as being the best advice you’ve got over your career, and did you actually follow it?

PD:

The second part is harder, but I’ve been really, really fortunate to have a lot of different mentors. That includes my parents and other people outside the company. I’ve always had a mentor network with me. I’ve found it very helpful inside and outside the organizations that I’ve worked with, and a couple come to mind on the personal front. One that has stuck with me for some time since, I don’t know, maybe I was late in my teens, the term, “Grateful for everything, entitled to nothing.” Right.

MBS:

Powerful. Yep.

PD:

And that has always kind of made me think about even some of the teams that I have that I’ve had the honor to lead because I’ve been given an opportunity to lead teams, pretty large teams, at a pretty young age, which was a challenge by the way, as you go through things, but that’s one. And the second personal one is, “If you don’t fall, you don’t learn,” which is another way of saying, get ready to take on some risk because in order to grow and be different to other companies, and I’m taking this more from a business perspective, but even learning how to ski or anything else, right. Without a few bruises here and there, if you don’t lean into things and aren’t willing to take some risk, you’re not going to get to that next level of performance.

And so those are probably two: “If you don’t fall, you don’t learn,” and “entitled to nothing, grateful for everything.” Or you can flip it around that way. Those are two. But the other ones are maybe because I’ve been serving customers being at a mega jumbo enterprise or large enterprise or medium and small, there’s something about two ears and one mouth. That’s what we have. So that’s an important one. And then just always seek to understand as opposed to be understood. And we all know those people that are just talking for the sake of talking and there’s something about seeking to understand versus… Those are pieces of advice and I try to follow them wherever I can, but I think they’ve been helpful to me.

MBS:

Well, all good signs of a strong leader. And I really love that one on grateful and not entitled. I think that right there is the foundation of being a strong and a leader that people want to follow is being grateful. As soon as you have that entitlement side there, it makes it difficult to want to jump on and be a part of something. So, we are grateful and happy to have you here as a leader of our company. So, I know this transition to CEO is still relatively new for you, just a few months now. What are our industry’s biggest opportunities? And what do you think those opportunities will be 10 years down the road?

PD:

If you look at property in particular, and I’ll probably talk a little bit more about what I would call residential property as opposed to the wider property for this particular one, because that’s where I’ve been going deeper on since I’ve joined the firm here, all the major macroeconomic demographic signs, not just in the U.S. but across the world, are very healthy for the housing industry if you just think about demand and supply, right?

MBS:

Yeah.

PD:

So typically when demand outstrips supply, even by a margin, you want those two things to really intersect perfectly, but demand is great in this industry right now, in terms of all the things we talk about, about overall property. So that’s just a really good sign if you think about the next generation that’s coming through, the demographics that are coming through with the next generation looking to buy their first home.

So, I really want us as a company and as an industry to take the long view here because it’s easy to get caught up in the month or the quarter up where we’re headed. So, if you just look at it for the long term, really, really healthy sign and a lot of consumer demand.

MBS:

Right? Yeah.

PD:

Now to meet that demand, I’m going to talk a little bit, not about just what’s happened in the last eight weeks with the Fed raising rates and everything. So, if we just take a step back from that for a moment because I think there are some short-term challenges that can’t be ignored. But if you just take a bit of a step back. Even though I’ve said that we’re a B2B company, and we are a B2B company as we help other clients serve their customers to the best of their ability, client experience is at the heart of competitive advantage in my view, moving forward.

And I think all companies have a chance to up their game to become more client-centric, really understand their consumer, really understand their customer. And there is something about B2B businesses that need to start acting a little bit more like B2C software companies because I think people are really demanding now a seamless experience, a frictionless experience. And I believe that the B2C world is moving faster to provide that user experience. And at the end of the day in a B2B business, we’re just dealing with people, and they want that same experience of taking the touch, time and cost out of their daily lives. And I think that’s a real opportunity for anyone in information technology and to work with major companies to help transform that. So, and I think a lot of our customers are also asking for help for companies like ours.

Just think about perhaps this isn’t their core competency, even if they’ve built some of these systems themselves for many, many years. So, letting them focus on what they’re good at and going to trusted scaled third-party players, like CoreLogic. We just have to listen a lot more in terms of taking that customer experience for their customers extremely frictionless moving forward. And this industry is still in early innings in my view of the digitization journey. And that’s just good for CoreLogic and that’s good for us as a company because I think we have essential data. We have essential workflows. We have a lot to work on to make them connected and work the right way, but they… So those are the opportunities, but you could see in my words, those are some of the challenges.

MBS:

And not surprisingly at all, a lot of the themes of what you’ve just talked about, Pat, are topics that we’ve covered on this podcast. We had a deep dive with our Chief Economist Frank Nothaft just in Episode 35 to talk about the changes that the Fed are doing to increase the interest rates right now and some of the challenges that we do have across the industry. We have an upcoming podcast with Garret Gray, really focusing on that ecosystem in the insurance world and focusing on that end-customer and how where we typically have been a B2B, business-to-business industry moving towards that satisfying the end customer because ultimately that is the goal. So your background coming from Nielsen — you have this huge background in trends and data insights—if we took a step back, what trends are we currently seeing in our industry, in the property industry, of data-driven insights that people want? So when we focus on that end customer, what do people want and how are we at CoreLogic poised to deliver this?

PD:

Yeah. One of the trends that I’m seeing right now is there is as much interest in workflow tools to help take the time, touch and cost out of our client’s workflows and to manage risk. But they’re really looking for us to help them look around the corner for customer acquisition, lead generation. And that’s an interesting space because a lot of the data sets that the industry has right now, to get much more personalized and targeted in how to interact with consumers, that’s a huge opportunity for any company that wants to get close to that space. And it’s probably a little closer to my heart, given my background of media and marketing but personalizing information. So you can really get the consumer at the right time exactly where they need to be, to really find, buy or protect their property. It’s an opportunity sitting out there for the industry right now, and I think CoreLogic has a role to play.

MBS:

So Pat, since you first joined us 18-ish months ago or so, CoreLogic’s gone through a lot of change. First, there was the acquisition by Stone Point Capital and Insight partners. Then you were named CEO at the beginning of the year. Can you tell our listeners a little bit about this move to private equity? How does it require a different kind of strategic perspective than being a publicly-traded company? You’ve talked a lot about amplifying our reach with being more client-focused, through being more connected to our clients. Can you just talk a little bit about this?

PD:

Yeah. First off, I would say the fundamentals of the strategy and what all of us here need to do should not change too much in terms of taking care of customers, taking care of your colleagues, working as a team. We have a very solid strategy at the company moving forward. For about seven years of my career, I did work in a private equity setting at a firm, but we were owned in private equity. And one of the things that I saw as the opportunity there was the ability to advance a transformation in a shorter period of time being under the public eye of the market, just allowed us to take a little bit of a longer view on a few things, particularly as it relates to key areas we need to invest in that perhaps we’ve been putting off for some time.

And so, looking at our internal operational technologies that we need to put in place to invest in our capabilities, looking at companies. You talked about two, we actually have acquired four companies already under private ownership, and that will continue. The ability to look at which companies that we want to tack onto our portfolio and really understand where to play and how to win. That really helps us in a private equity setting and then being public. And just this ability to invest in the right spots. So those are some of the areas for my previous experience that I saw really did help drive a transformation. And instead of doing it in five years, do it in three, right in terms of moving forward. So there’s that speed to stay in the market leadership position.

And then number two, we’re very fortunate with Stone Point and Insight if you think about the two sponsors that ended up picking up CoreLogic. That’s our board that I’m a member of with them. A combination of a company like Stone Point, who really knows our end markets as well as we do in all sectors: real estate, insurance, data. And that deep knowledge of the industry combined with the technology expertise from Insight, if you really think about where CoreLogic’s driving its transformation, you can imagine those are amazing advisors for the senior executive team and myself to help really make sure we’re making the right bets here and understanding where we need to go. So it’s a very exciting time and they’re looking for us to win and they’re asking us to kind of lean in even harder into driving and advancing our transformation even faster.

MBS:

Just to wrap up, one last question for you here, Pat. When you look back and your time at CoreLogic here, what do you think will be the moment when you say, “Yes, we at CoreLogic have truly been successful.” Is there a moment or a thing that would happen that you would look back and reflect and say, “This is it?”

PD:

Not to be repetitive, but I will say yes when our 100,000 clients say we are, right? When our clients truly become advocates of the CoreLogic company. And there’s a big difference between loyalty and advocates.

MBS:

Absolutely.

PD:

And so that word advocacy to me, if our clients acknowledge it and the industry acknowledges it, we know we’ve arrived. Now, the tricky thing with clients is they keep raising the bar.

MBS:

As they should.

PD:

As they should. But that is the north star.

MBS:

Yeah.

PD:

Because this goes back to my media days. The most trusted media in the world, guess what it is? Word of mouth.

MBS:

Ah, yes.

PD:

The most trusted source of advertising in the world is word of mouth.

MBS:

Is word of mouth.

PD:

And if all the industry keeps talking to their peers and others about saying, “Hey man, I’m getting a competitive advantage from CoreLogic every time I’m turning on a new knob or turning on a new switch on things,” that’s a good day. So, I really do think that’s when we’ll know when we’ve arrived and maybe it’s not all 100,000 by the way, but you know where I’m going with it.

MBS:

I know where you’re going with it and let’s shoot for 999,000 of them being happy. So, Pat, that seems like a really great place for us to end today. Thank you so much for joining me today. I love chatting with you and I know our listeners will love getting to know you personally a little bit better and just what we think is in store for us at CoreLogic. So thank you for joining me today in Core Conversations.

PD:

It was a real pleasure. Thank you very much.

© 2022 CoreLogic,Inc., All rights reserved.

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