Catalano’s exit shook Domain's foundations, and its share price

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 23 January 2018
Antony Catalano

Domain’s shares have dramatically dropped since the announcement CEO Antony Catalano would be stepping down from the business he built from the ground up.

The move came as a shock to the industry with Catalano widely recognised as the brazen figurehead of Domain who has led the company since 2013.

Domain's share price has felt the brunt of his departure, with shares closing at $2.75 yesterday, declining 17% from its Friday close price on the back of the 9am announcement. The drop knocked $420 million from the company’s valuation.

On its ASX debut in November last year Domain shares were trading around $3.90, valuing the company at $2.2 billion as it split out from Fairfax.

Catalano’s exit also impacted Fairfax’s share price, ending yesterday with a decline of 10%, removing $150m in value from the publisher, which owns 60% of Domain.

Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood is said to have been grooming Catalano over many years to be his heir apparent. The line of succession for Fairfax leadership is no longer clear, which is likely the reason behind Fairfax’s slump.

As a domestic and international search for a new CEO begins, former REA Group chief Greg Ellis has been mooted as an external candidate in the mix to succeed Catalano.

Ellis was a part of private equity giant Hellman & Friedman’s abandoned $2.87 billion bid for Fairfax last year.

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