A new chapter

Austin real estate mogul makes moves as Keller Williams heads into new territory

Austin mogul makes moves as Keller Williams heads into new territory

Gary Keller Keller Williams
Gary Keller is stepping down as CEO of Keller Williams. Keller Williams Realty/Facebook

As part of a corporate reshuffling, Gary Keller has stepped down as CEO of Austin-based residential real estate giant Keller Williams.

On October 7, Keller Williams announced it had created a new umbrella organization called KWx led by Carl Liebert, former president and CEO of car dealership conglomerate AutoNation. The new parent company includes Keller Williams Realty and various affiliates. With Liebert at the helm, Keller, who co-founded Keller Williams in 1983, has assumed the new role of executive chairman at KWx.

“This move will allow me the opportunity to get back to my passion — placing my focus on the vision for our industry, consulting our amazing agents and leaders, and building the models and systems for tomorrow’s real estate environment,” Keller wrote in a companywide email.

Keller returned to the CEO spot at Keller Williams in January 2019, replacing company veteran John Davis and embarking on an ambitious plan to transform Keller Williams into a tech-focused company. Keller says he had envisioned eventually becoming executive chairman after taking over as CEO.

Liebert brings a wealth of corporate experience to KWx. Most recently, Liebert exited AutoNation in July 2019 after only four months leading the company. He reportedly was “not a good fit” at the chain of car dealerships.

Previously, Liebert was executive vice president and chief operating officer of USAA’s business unit encompassing insurance, banking, and real estate investment. Before joining San Antonio-based USAA, he was president and CEO of 24 Hour Fitness, and executive vice president of The Home Depot. Liebert is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and Vanderbilt University.

“Carl’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 says.

Josh Team now handles all of the duties that Keller had at Keller Williams Realty. Team remains president of Keller Williams Realty, which no longer has a CEO, and Bill Soteroff remains president of Keller Williams Worldwide, the international division of Keller Williams.

“As president, Josh has successfully led Keller Williams Realty to achieve record-level success across all major metrics of our business,” Keller says.

Keller Williams Realty has nearly 1,100 offices and more than 185,000 associates. In 2019, it racked up almost $336.6 billion in sales.