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Chris Nielsen

Redfin is bolstering its executive team, hinting that the Seattle real estate company may be getting more serious about an initial public offering.

The company today announced that Chris Nielsen, the former chief financial officer and chief operating officer of Zappos, has joined as CFO. In the new role, Nielsen will oversee the company’s financial operations, as well as its legal and HR departments.

“Redfin sought a CFO with broad operational chops to help us build a world-class customer-service company,” said CEO Glenn Kelman in a press release. “Chris Nielsen’s experience at Zappos and Amazon, where he ran whole businesses as well as tallied their financial results, is a perfect fit for Redfin. He’s a believer and a doer, ridiculously smart but soulful too. We’re over the moon to have him on board.”

Kelman has suggested that Redfin may try to go public as early as next year, following in the path of Zillow and Trulia

“I’ve always aspired for Redfin to be a public, independent company,” Kelman told GeekWire. “Our hope is that we can become a public company in the next few years, but I try to be careful about a specific date first because there are all sorts of ways it could take longer depending on how the business performs, and second because we are still making very speculative investments that Wall Street isn’t set up to understand. If that takes more or less time, I won’t be disappointed.”

Nielsen started at Amazon in 2003, leading the home and garden business. Before that, he worked at Accenture and Bain & Co. He holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Stanford University, and a master’s degree in business administration from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Redfin is backed by Madrona Venture Group, Vulcan Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Greylock Partners.

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