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Mark Willis steps back into CEO role at Keller Williams

Willis, who served as CEO of Keller Williams from 2005 to 2014, is stepping into the leadership role again at a critical time

Mark Willis, who served as CEO of Keller Williams from 2005 to 2014, has stepped back into the role effective immediately. Marc King will continue to serve as President of Keller Williams.

“I am grateful to be back,” Willis told HousingWire in an interview.

“With a deep knowledge of our company and our culture, Mark is well-suited to lead us through our next growth phase,” said Gary Keller, co-founder and executive chairman of KW in a statement. 

“With so much uncertainty surrounding the real estate industry today, it’s never been more important to have a leader who thoroughly knows us and understands business at the highest level,” said Keller. “That’s Mark Willis.”

Willis joined Keller Williams from Coldwell Banker in 1991, serving in multiple roles during his time with the brokerage. In 2002, he joined the firm’s executive team, serving as president, before a nine-year stint as CEO from 2005 to 2014. He left the company in 2016.

During that time, “Keller Williams grew from approximately 25,000 agents to 115,000 agents,” said Steve Murray, founder of RTC Consulting and a senior advisor for HousingWire.

Willis spent seven years away from the firm before being named a strategic consultant with the company in July 2023.

He takes over at a critical point in the real estate industry.

Earlier this month, a Kansas City jury found the National Association of Realtors (NAR), HomeServices of America and Keller Williams guilty of colluding to inflate or maintain high commission rates through NAR’s Clear Cooperation rule in the Sitzer/Burnett buyer broker commission lawsuit.

The defendants have been ordered to pay damages of $1.78 billion. Treble damages could result in NAR and the defendant brokerages paying roughly $5.36 billion. All three parties plan to appeal.

“This could be a golden moment in the real estate industry,” Willis told HousingWire. “Life isn’t about what happens to you; it’s all about how you respond. This has been a slow-burn crisis and will take a concerted effort by the entire industry.”

As CEO, Keller Williams will leverage Willis’ vast knowledge and expertise to continue to help its agents and market center owners grow their businesses.

“I’m excited to remain partnered with our KW agents, leaders, owners, and Gary Keller, a once-in-a-generation business leader,” Willis said in a statement. “Only together can we drive our vision to be the real estate company of choice for agents and customers.”

“Mark Willis has been one of the more inspirational leaders in our industry over the last 25 years,” Murray said. “His re-entry to Keller Williams will strengthen their ability to compete in the future.”

Since 1991, Willis has served in various leadership roles within the company, including regional director, operating principal, team leader, and as a market center and region investor.

“We face headwinds and change, and that’s nothing new,” Willis said. “As an innovative force since 1983, we remain optimistically forward-thinking and focused on serving our agents and brokerage partners as they provide powerful customer and business experiences,”

In early 2022, Willis was tapped by eXp Realty to take an executive-level position at the brokerage.

In February 2022, 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 viewed as a direct competitor to Keller Williams

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