Yesterday, Keller Williams parent company kwx announced the surprise departure of CEO Carl Liebert and a significant reshuffling of roles at the top of the real estate conglomerate’s leadership team.
In a letter that went out to employees and was provided to RISMedia, kwx executive chairman and founder Gary Keller wrote that the company was seeking to become “more entrepreneurial, more nimble,” as well as returning “closer to our roots as a training and coaching company.”
“In pursuit of careers worth having, businesses worth owning, and lives worth living, evolution is both inevitable and necessary,” Keller wrote.
Liebert, who was hired as CEO when the brand reorganized under kwx in late 2020, is leaving “to pursue other opportunities,” Keller wrote. His departure is effective immediately.
“I want to thank Carl for his sincere hard work on all our behalf and to wish him the very best in his next chapter,” Keller continued. “Carl contributed his leadership and experience to our team at a critical moment in our history. We are all the better for the time we shared working together.”
Liebert came from a background of mostly retail, leading Texas-based auto dealership chain AutoNation for around two years before joining kwx. He also served as CEO of 24 Hour Fitness and held leadership positions at Circuit City and Home Depot.
kwx will not immediately promote a new CEO as the brand “will take a thoughtful approach and reevaluate the future needs for that role in kwx,” according to Keller. There is no timeline set for a decision on that role, according to a person familiar with the matter.
“We will benefit from a flatter leadership structure to streamline operations, simplify communications, and strengthen teamwork,” Keller wrote.
Liebert could not be immediately reached for comment. In response to emailed questions from RISMedia, a spokesperson for the company says that “Keller Williams will continue to be the place where real estate entrepreneurs thrive. Nothing is changing that.”
Among the other changes in Keller Williams’ leadership, Sajag Patel, who has been with the company for 12 years, is taking on a new role as COO, according to Keller.
Four other executives: Chris Cox (chief technology and digital officer), Stacie Herron (chief legal & people officer), Stacie Shirley (CFO) and Dave Smith (president, Keller Home Financial Services) will begin reporting directly to Keller himself. All four are relatively recent additions to the company, hired under Liebert in 2021.
“As we head into an almost certain shift,” Keller concluded, “I’m certain in my belief that this is a simple business if we focus on taking care of our customers and each other. I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve, and I believe the future is ours.”
The “shift” is in reference to broader changes in the real estate market, according to a person familiar with the matter, and not necessarily further restructuring of the company.
Jesse Williams is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news to firstname.lastname@example.org.