Glenn Sanford, the founder, chairman, and CEO of eXp World Holdings, is adding a new title to his name: CEO of eXp Realty, the holding company for eXp Realty, Virbela, and SUCCESS Enterprises.
As CEO of eXp Realty, Sanford will “drive the next phase of growth while iterating on the agent value proposition,” according to an announcement from the firm on Tuesday.
“We are laser-focused on driving exponential growth and innovation across eXp Realty and the industry,” Sanford said in a statement. “Our model was designed to withstand varying market conditions, and we continue to have the most agent-centric model in the industry. This uniquely positions us to continue investing in our future and iterating on our industry-leading agent value proposition. I’m excited to be the hands-on leader for the next period of growth for the company.”
Sanford is replacing Jason Gesing as CEO. Gesing will be moving into “an expanded role” as chief industry relations officer of eXp World Holdings.
In his new role, Gesing will oversee all brands under the eXp World Holdings umbrella, focusing on industry relations, metaverse advisory and environment, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives, according to eXp.
In addition, Gesing will continue to serve on the eXp World Holdings board of directors. Gesing has been with eXp since 2010.
According the firm, these C-suite changes “intensify focus on building the next generation at eXp Realty, amid challenges in the real estate market.”
Sanford’s appointment as CEO of eXp Realty also comes nearly a year after a court room battle erupted when eXp attempted to appoint Mark Willis, the former CEO of Keller Williams, to an executive role.
In response to eXp’s appointment of Willis, Keller Williams sued eXp and snared Stacey Onnen, the former president of operations at eXp, naming her the director of growth operations at Keller Williams.
Keller Williams argued in the suit that Willis, who served at Keller Williams CEO from 2005 to 2014, still has non-competition obligations in place, as he is currently the co-owner of two Keller Williams regions and a market center.
According to Keller Williams’ filings, this position enables Willis to have complete access to information provided to Keller Williams franchise owners, from granular financial metrics to client leads and overall business strategy. As such, Keller Williams argued Willis could share confidential information with eXp Realty, thereby inflicting “irreparable damage” on Keller Williams.
“The company filed this lawsuit to enforce the agreements and protect the interests of his franchise partners and Keller Williams,” a brokerage spokesperson wrote in an emailed statement last February.
A Texas state court judge agreed with Keller Williams’ stance, and in mid-February 2022, issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting Willis from not just working with eXp — but from doing business with any real estate brokerage in the United States or Canada that directly competes with Keller Williams.
“I am a strong proponent for agent and leadership mobility in the real estate industry,” Sanford declared in a statement provided to RealTrends last February. “We are interested in engaging with Mark Willis because of his management experience and demonstrated leadership in the industry. eXp Realty has intervened in the lawsuit to protect its right to hire qualified real estate professionals and has no interest in any competitor’s confidential information.”