The ‘ruthless’ CEO of real estate data powerhouse CoStar ‘has created a toxic environment’

More than 1,500 employees have left one of the nation’s largest real estate data companies in the past year, and many say the ‘ruthless’ CEO created a toxic work environment where he openly favored young people women while ridiculing others, and even pointed a gun at an executive during a Zoom call.

In interviews published by Insider, former employees each had their own horror story to tell and said it was a workplace where humiliation and surveillance were common, especially by the CEO. Andrew Florence.

Florance, 58, who started CoStar in the basement of her father’s home in Washington, DC, has been credited with growing the business. But former employees say his leadership style coupled with the pandemic has caused discontent at the company and sparked a mass exodus.

Insider reported that 1,546 workers left the $27 billion company in 2021, more than double the 638 who left in 2020.

Employee dissatisfaction with the company has also manifested itself in the form of memes on an Instagram account that poke fun at the company, with many referencing their own experiences.

A former employee, who wished to remain anonymous, told Insider that dealing with Florance had always been difficult, but once he found himself staring down the barrel of a gun.

In March 2020, at the start of the pandemic, the 39-year-old former corporate communications director said he was on a video call with the CEO and two other colleagues when the CEO suddenly pulled out a black semi-automatic pistol and pointed it at the screen.

“It was inappropriate, quite shocking and showed a complete lack of professionalism,” the employee told Insider. “What if one of us had been the victim of violence in the past? »

The employee said Florance, who worked at home in rural Virginia, then put down his gun and explained that he had seen bears on his property.

But the CEO also allegedly showed his ammunition on the call, then months later sent a picture of a target riddled with bullets.

CoStar told Insider in a written statement that “the alleged incident you referred to did not occur” and that Florance is “a well-trained and licensed shooter with a passion for gun safety.”

CEO Andrew Florance, 58, CEO of CoStar, a powerful real estate data company, is accused of creating a toxic work environment leading to the departure of more than 1,500 employees in 2021

CEO Andrew Florance, 58, CEO of CoStar, a powerful real estate data company, is accused of creating a toxic work environment leading to the departure of more than 1,500 employees in 2021

A 39-year-old man, a former director of communications for the company, said he was on a video call with the CEO when he pulled out a black pistol and pointed it at the screen.

A 39-year-old man, a former director of communications for the company, said he was on a video call with the CEO when he pulled out a black pistol and pointed it at the screen.

But the CEO also allegedly showed his ammunition on the call, then months later sent a picture of a target riddled with bullets.

But the CEO also allegedly showed his ammunition on the call, then months later sent a picture of a target riddled with bullets.

The former communications director sent his account of the incident to a colleague at the time, in a text thread obtained by Insider.

“I’m on a call with Andy and he’s holding a gun,” the text read.

“He just pointed it at the screen,” reads the following text.

The recipient replied: ‘Is it loaded?’ then added: ‘Whaaaaat??’

The then communications director replied: ‘He was also playing with a ball’, before adding: ‘I was terrified lol.’

He said Florance told him he had a gun because he was in the mountains and “you never know what’s going to happen out there”.

The director was one of 1,546 of the company’s 4,200 U.S. employees who resigned or were fired, in what Insider reported as its biggest exodus on record, according to data provided by a current employee with access. to its internal employment statistics.

In a previous Insider article, CoStar called the dissatisfaction a symptom of its high performance expectations.

“We will not apologize for these standards, nor will we compromise them to accommodate the few who decide this level of expectation is not for them,” he said in a statement released in February.

But the company’s negative reviews online and a meme account on Instagram say otherwise.

An Instagram account dedicated to memes poking fun at the company was created by Nate Peterson, who was fired in 2021, and has more than 2,300 followers.

Content is submitted by current and former employees eager to share their own experiences working at CoStar.

An Instagram account dedicated to memes mocking the company was created by Nate Peterson, and has more than 2,300 followers

An Instagram account dedicated to memes mocking the company was created by Nate Peterson, and has more than 2,300 followers

Current and former employees submit content to the Instagram account which is dedicated to making fun of the company

Current and former employees submit content to the Instagram account which is dedicated to making fun of the company

In interviews conducted by Insider, more than 50 former employees described a toxic work environment with a “ruthless” CEO who could “ruthlessly ridicule and fire employees and made workers both fearful and ill at ease.” comfortable showing cruelty to some and unwanted attention to others”. ‘

An employee told Insider that while on a video call while working from home, she heard Florance criticize her appearance and accused her of sleeping and not paying attention, apparently unaware that her microphone was on. alight.

She said she called him about his comments and when the call ended an HR employee called to inform her that she had been terminated.

Five women told Insider that Florance openly favors young women in the office and makes them feel uncomfortable by complimenting them on their looks.

A woman said Florance approached her at the office and said, “I want to steal you for a few days with a few of us and lock us in a room and find out about this product,” she told him. he says. “You can choose anywhere you want to go.”

When she jokingly suggested Europe, he replied, “We’ll take the private jet.” The trip never happened, but the woman said the encounter was awkward.

CoStar disputed the claims and characterizations of the company and CEO to Insider and instead described their boss as someone who is

CoStar disputed the claims and characterizations of the company and CEO to Insider and instead described their boss as someone who is “pro-family” and “kid-loving.”

CoStar said in its statement to Insider that “this insinuation is categorically false and misrepresents the situation and the purpose and intent of the requested meeting.”

Dailymail.com has contacted the company for comment.

CoStar disputed the claims and characterizations of the company and CEO to Insider and instead described their boss as someone who is “pro-family” and “kid-loving”.

The company added that Florance had offered “comfort and support” to its workers, especially those in need.

CoStar told Insider it has taken steps to improve its workplace and benefits by hiring an outside company to host focus groups, allowing employees to work from home one day a week, and updating its parental leave policy.

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