Keller Williams is naming Carl Liebert, a retail, financial services and industrial services veteran, as CEO of the newly created KWx, a holding company that encompasses all of the Keller Williams brands, including, Keller Williams Realty, Keller Williams Worldwide, Keller Mortgage, Keller Covered and Keller Offers.
As part of this large-scale leadership facelift, current CEO and co-founder Gary Keller will shift from CEO to the role of executive chairman of KWx. Josh Team — who previously led KW Labs as chief innovation officer prior to being named president — will stay on as president of Keller Williams Realty, the senior-most role of the franchise business, which will no longer have a CEO. Keller’s CEO duties of the franchisor arm will be transferred to Team.
Liebert, most recently the president and CEO of AutoNation, has also served in executive roles for USAA, 24 Hour Fitness, The Home Depot, Circuit City and General Electric.
“[Liebert’s] proven track record of enterprise-level leadership, building collaborative teams and delivering operational scale to each of these organizations is in perfect alignment with the charter of KWx,” Keller said in a statement.
In a statement, Liebert cited the opportunity to work alongside Keller, and the company’s shared passion and commitment to delivering, “world-class customer experiences.”
“Keller Williams has the market share, the vision and leadership, and unwavering commitment to keep the agent at the center of the holistic real estate experience,” Liebert said. “I look forward to joining the team on this journey.”
For nearly the past two years, Keller served as CEO, with President Josh Team serving directly below Keller as the company’s president. Keller re-took the reins of the company in January 2019 after his predecessor John Davis departed the company.
Under Keller and Team’s leadership as CEO and president, the company launched its proprietary customer relationship management tool (CRM) Command, as well as its new consumer-facing app and websites and an app marketplace for agents.
The company also launched and scaled up its iBuyer offering, Keller Offers, which includes concierge service for homesellers and recently pivoted to allow multiple investors to make all-cash offers on homes.
“As president, [Team] has successfully led Keller Williams Realty to achieve record-level success across all major metrics of our business,” Keller said, in a statement. “From the time I took over the CEO position, my goal was to move into the role of executive chairman. [Team] has made that move possible more quickly and confidently than I could have imagined.”
The focus during Keller’s second tenure as CEO seemed, at times, more on technology than on growth, the latter of which was a hallmark of his predecessor, Davis.
From the time that Keller took the role of CEO in January 2019, to January 2020, agent count at Keller Williams actually declined from 159,447 to 158,790, according to internal numbers reviewed by Inman. As of July 30, 2020, Keller Williams’ total agent count had dipped to 157,650 agents in the United States and Canada.
Those year-over-year declines aren’t really inclusive of the audit of agent rolls that saw Keller Williams dump thousands of ‘ghost agents,’ off of its rosters. Those agent count losses were mostly reflected in the nearly 12,000 agents that left the roster between December 2018 and January 2019.
Bill Soteroff will remain in his role as president of Keller Williams Worldwide, the company’s growing international franchise division.
“Keller Williams has continued to innovate on behalf of the real estate agent and their clients,” Keller said. “We moved quickly to deliver unique value through these individual companies — from creation of an innovative zero-fee loan program to a home insurance platform. The formation of KWx is central to the next phase, focused on scaling that vision and empowering our agents to deliver the highest level of value to their clients.”