Weichert Realtors lost two top employees to rival Long & Foster Inc. last week, and sources said yesterday that more may jump ship soon.
Peter Rucci, an executive vice president at Weichert for six years, confirmed he left for Long & Foster last Friday. He said his new job carries less responsibility.
Barbara Stone, the manager of Weichert's Woodmont Avenue office in Bethesda, left on June 1; she will open a new office in Bethesda, she said.
"I left because of philosophical differences over the way to operate," Rucci said. "At Long & Foster, decisions are made locally, and the top guy wants input," he said, referring to Long & Foster's president and chief executive, P. Wesley Foster Jr. Rucci said Weichert is a more bureaucratic company, with most decisions made at the firm's headquarters in Morris Plains, N.J.
"They run a tight ship," Stone said. "And I don't criticize that. If a man owns a company, he has the right to run it however he wants." Stone was referring to Weichert President Jim Weichert. Like Rucci, Stone worked for Weichert for six years after Weichert bought out Shannon & Luchs Co., where both worked for two decades.
Sources said many of Stone's 60 Weichert agents might follow her. But Weichert officials dismissed the notion. "I would be surprised if that happened," said Denise Smith, Weichert's vice president of public relations.