Major changes are underway at Keller Williams Realty International. In an email sent to Keller Williams employees and leaders Wednesday, Gary Keller, the chairman of kwx, announced CEO Carl Liebert was leaving the company, effective immediately.
Keller wrote Liebert was leaving his role at kwx to “pursue other opportunities.”
“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 wrote. “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.”
According to the email, kwx will not immediately promote a new CEO. Instead, Keller said managment “will take a thoughtful approach and reevaluate the future needs for that role in kwx. In the meantime, we will benefit from a flatter leadership structure to streamline operations, simplify communications and strengthen teamwork.”
Keller also informed staffers the company plans to unify several of KWRI’s operating responsibilities into a new chief operating officer role. The role will go to Sajag Patel, a 12-year KW veteran who has worked as an agent and MAPS executive coach, who’s also served as executive director of strategy at MAPS, vice president of segments and head of coaching, communities and learning.
In addition to Patel, Keller told employees four other members of the leadership group, including Chris Cox (chief technology and digital officer), Stacie Herron (chief legal and people officer), Stacie Shirley (chief financial officer) and Dave Smith (president, Keller Home Financial Services), will report to him directly.
The Liebert news is just the latest shake up in what appears to be a revolving door for Keller Williams’ C-suite executives. In February 2021, just months after Liebert was named CEO in October 2020, Josh Team left his position as president of Keller Williams. A month later in March 2021, kwx announced the addition of Stacie Herron as the firm’s chief legal officer, Dave Smith as president of Keller Home Financial Services, TV Kumaresh as head of strategy planning and integration, and Paige Gorman as vice president of integration.
Most recently, in February 2022, Stacey Onnen, who recently served as president of eXp Realty and, before that, operations manager of Realty ONE Group, was brought in as a member of Keller Williams’ executive leadership team.
While previously, Keller Williams’ executive team was made up of individuals with a wide variety of backgrounds, after Liebert’s departure, the only member of the team left without a real estate-based background is Stacie Shirley, the firm’s chief financial officer.
Keller Williams is also currently embroiled in a battle with eXp Realty over former Keller Williams CEO Mark Willis. Earlier this year, eXp named Willis to an executive role at the brokerage. In February, however, a judge in Austin, Texas, issued a restraining order against Willis, preventing him from joining eXp Realty or doing business with any real estate brokerage in the United States or Canada seen as direct competition to Keller Williams because Willis holds shares in three Keller Williams franchises.
In legal filings, Keller Williams claimed Willis’ ownership position gave him unfettered access to information provided to Keller Williams franchise owners, from granular financial metrics and client leads to overall business strategy. As such, Keller Williams argued Willis could share confidential information with eXp Realty, thereby inflicting “irreparable damage” on Keller Williams.