First National Real Estate appoints David Edwards as CEO


First National Real Estate has appointed former Forty Winks Chief Executive Officer, David Edwards as its new CEO as it looks to further grow its member-oriented network.

Mr Edwards, who will start in the position on April 8, told Elite Agent he was looking forward to meeting as many First National members as possible, as soon as possible.

“What I’m excited about is being able to work with and continue working with, as I did with Forty Winks, family-owned businesses,” he said.

“Above all else, they’re entrepreneurs and … I’m sure there are so many wonderful stories out there and I’m pretty eager to listen to as many as I possibly can, as quickly as I can.”

First National Real Estate Chair, Rob Westwood, said Mr Edwards was an experienced CEO and board director, with an extensive background in cooperative and franchise-based organisations, and his reputation for working with independent and family-owned retail businesses to drive business growth and transformation was well established.

Mr Edwards brings with him an impressive track record of profitability and change management in organisations such as Myer, Mitre 10, Placemakers (New Zealand) and Forty Winks.

“David is recognised for his people-first mindset, creating cultures and motivating talented people to coalesce into cohesive, highly effective teams,” Mr Westwood said.

Mr Edwards said he’d presented a first 100-day plan to the First National board as part of the application process for the role, and part of that was for the focus in the first 30 days to be meeting the key stakeholders in the network.

“So that would be the national office and getting to know and spend a little bit more time with board members, who are obviously also members of the cooperative,” he said.

“But definitely getting out to the different states and territories and country regions, in order to be able to engage with members.

“I’ve been inundated this morning with LinkedIn requests and messages, which I’ve been prompt to respond to, because I genuinely feel that one of my greatest strengths, that I can bring for the benefit of the business, is that I’m a people-oriented person. 

“It’s people first for me, and that’s the only way I’ll be able to succeed in my job – with the support and commitment from the people that I’ll engage with.”

Mr Edwards said the First National Real Estate brand had been in existence for more than 40 years and he was looking forward to listening and learning from its members to ascertain the brand’s health, where opportunities existed and what next steps in the brand’s growth and evolution would be.

“Hopefully, from a consumer perspective, the end customer will have a good awareness of the brand, and we’ll see if we can improve that for our members,” he said.



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