Gary Keller is retaking the top executive role of his namesake real estate company with CEO John Davis on his way out, Keller Williams confirmed to Inman on Tuesday. Keller co-founded Keller Williams Realtors in 1983 and has most recently been acting as the chairman of the board of directors of Keller Williams.

The major shakeups in real estate leadership continue: Gary Keller is retaking the title of chief executive officer at his namesake real estate company Keller Williams, replacing former CEO John Davis, who led the company for nearly two years, the company announced in an email to associates (republished below).

Davis will “no longer hold any official responsibilities or roles” at Keller Williams headquarters, a Keller Williams spokesperson told Inman.

Gary Keller at KW Family Reunion 2018. Credit: Keller Williams

Gary Keller co-founded Keller Williams Realtors with Joe Williams in 1983. Keller has most recently been acting as the chairman of the board of directors of Keller Williams. He previously served as the company’s CEO from its founding in 1983 until 1995.

Josh Team will be promoted to president of Keller Williams as part of the shakeup. He previously served as chief innovation officer where he led KW Labs, the company’s technology development arm.

Keller Williams Josh Team KW

Josh Team. Credit: Keller Williams

Davis took the role of sole-CEO and president back in April 2017, after serving as co-CEO with Chris Heller for two months prior. Davis was named the president of Keller Williams in 2015 at the same time Heller was originally named CEO. He’s been with Keller Williams in various roles for more than 20 years.

Keller’s success in the industry is legendary. Under his leadership in one form or another, the company has grown to more than 190,000 associates and 980 offices under its franchise umbrella according to the company’s third-quarter earnings report.

But it was also Davis who is credited with chartering Keller Williams’ recent growth. He has run the company’s growth initiative since its inception in 2011 – the company’s recruiting and accountability program – and that program has added more than 100,000 associates since its launch.

John Davis

John Davis. Credit: Keller Williams

Davis created the KW Career Growth Initiative in 2016, a training initiative to help agents boost their productivity. He also appeared to be well-liked by the company’s employees. Keller Williams was named the 57th best place to work on in a recent Glassdoor poll and Davis received a 94 percent approval rating from employees in CareerBliss’ 50 Happiest Companies in America for 2019 list.

It was also under Davis that the company began its quest to build a consumer-facing, end-to-end real estate platform with the acquisition of SmarterAgent and first introduced Kelle, the company’s AI-powered virtual assistant. Keller, of course, has also publicly espoused the benefits of a company owning all of its own technology.

In taking over as CEO, Keller moves from behind the scenes into a more public-facing role. Before appearing on stage at Inman Connect San Francisco in July 2018, Keller had not given a major public talk outside of Keller Williams’ corporate events in a decade.

Keller has also authored a number of books, including, “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent.”

Read Gary Keller’s letter to Keller Williams associates in full below:

Dear Keller Williams family,

As Keller Williams continues our technology transformation, I have resumed the role of CEO and Josh Team has been promoted from Chief Innovation Officer to President.

Since its founding in 1983, Keller Williams has always been a pioneering company focused on growth, innovation and culture. Nothing has changed. I am as committed as ever to positioning Keller Williams to lead the real estate industry into the future.

Over the past several months in preparation for this transition, Josh began leading all marketing, training and operational efforts for the company. As president, he will continue to guide the company to deliver the best agent solutions and consumer experiences powered by technology. This includes oversight of Labs and the roll-out of industry-first innovations, including KW Command and Kelle.

Together through Labs, Josh and I have collaborated with thousands of you – our agents and leaders in the field – to design the real estate operating system of the future, putting your data back in your hands, and empowering you through AI to provide more value to your clients.

We want to thank John Davis for his decades-long service and contributions to the company. We wish him well in his future endeavors.

We look forward to sharing more about our 2019 plans with the entire Keller Williams family at Family Reunion in February.  



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