Leadership and Industry Changes: Many Questions With Few Answers

Leadership and Industry Changes: Many Questions With Few Answers

Real estate is moving at the speed of light. What do these changes mean to you?

The year started with some big surprises at the top of the real estate leadership ladder. Nick Bailey stepped down at CENTURY 21; John Davis stepped down from Keller Williams Realty, Ron Peltier changed roles at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. There were other senior management changes, as well, including the departure of Mike Ryan and Pete Crowe from RE/MAX International.

Adding to these changes, just before the end of the year, Realogy announced two new brands, Corcoran and Climb. Then, one of the most aggressive new firms of the last few years, Compass, announced that it’s likely they would not be entering new markets in 2019 (at least in the United States) but would focus more on the continuation of building market share in the markets they are in and getting their technology platform more fully developed.


We have fielded dozens of calls from brokerage leaders as to what underlies all of these changes all within 60 days of each other. Generally, the questions fall into one of two categories: Is there something we should know about the background of these changes? And, will this affect the way business will be done in the future? Along with this question, of course, is how it might affect our business prospects.


We don’t have any more clarity about the executive changes than anyone else outside a small circle of the executives involved in the decisions. What we can say with some certainty that, in most cases, the changes will not have any earth-shattering effects on the industry. Gino Blefari will become more involved with a broader range of issues at Berkshire, Gary Keller stepped back in as CEO and elevated Josh Team to be the president of Keller Williams. Michael Miedler has assumed Bailey’s role at CENTURY 21 moving up from a senior position with the company. Ryan, who was with RE/MAX for over 24 years, will now serve in an advisory role.

Robert Reffkin’s announcement that Compass was not going to enter new markets will have a significant impact on some brokerage firms’ business prospects in 2019. Brokers in markets that Compass hasn’t entered may be breathing a sigh of relief. Those in markets where Compass has established their brokerage can’t see this as positive. Compass has proven to be effective at building their business in more than two dozen major markets and, according to Reffkin, they will continue to focus on building larger market shares.

Our answer to brokers in the markets Compass is in, and many others is that Compass is not the only aggressive recruiter of agents out there. Realty One Group, JP and Associates, HomeSmart, eXp and a handful of others are still very much in the hunt for growth through agent recruiting with low-cost agent business models. Whether the changes at the top of national firms are exciting to you or not, you will need to take them into account in your 2019-2020 planning.