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Two weeks after Keller Williams’ annual Family Reunion conference, Marc King has stepped down as the Texas-based brokerage’s president, effective immediately.

Inman learned of the news Monday afternoon through an internal email that was sent to the company’s more than 180,000 agents. In the email, King said it was time to focus on his family and personal life, which suffered as he helped guide Keller Williams through an especially tough housing market.

Marc King

“KW is not about what you get; it’s about who you become,” he said. “Over the past 23 years, this company and its wonderful relationships have helped me become a better person, a better leader, and most importantly, a better husband, stepfather, brother, and son.”

“My heart is full of gratitude for every opportunity I have had here, and I can say I’ve given every role 100 percent effort and heart,” he added. “It is now time for me to truly put God and family first and then focus on business. The pandemic, social unrest, wars, fires, lawsuits, and market contraction required more time on business, and it’s time that I make up for that.”

King, who stepped up to the helm in 2021 after more than two decades as a divisional leader and operating principal of multiple market centers, said he will continue to serve the company as an adviser and focus on bolstering the franchisor’s growing education empire with Coursera and Kaplan.

“Today is bittersweet for me at KWRI, and I have chosen to transition into a different role,” he said. “I am excited about the future. I am not going anywhere. I will be doing what I am most passionate about and love.”

“That is pouring into our team leader community and reimagining FSO as a best-in-class educational platform that will drive growth,” he added. “I will forever be grateful for my five years in that role and the director of growth and divisional leader roles.”

Returning KW giant Mark Willis will take over King’s responsibilities and will take on the dual role of president and CEO. “We respect, admire, and are grateful for Marc’s work as president of KWRI,” he said.

Before becoming president, King spent over 20 years as an operating partner for Keller Williams market centers in Nebraska and Missouri, and 15 years as a MAPS business coach. In January 2020, King became the director of growth amid a period of rapid change that led to the formation of a new holding company, KWx, and intensifying rumors of an initial public offering.

A year later, King stepped into the president’s chair with the sudden – and contentious — departure of former president Josh Team. Under King, Keller Williams returned to its education and training roots with headline-making partnerships with Kaplan and Coursera and the successful launch of Keller Williams’ communities, which focused on connecting agents with similar backgrounds and interests.

After a banner 2021, King led Keller Williams through a dramatic drop in home sales and sluggish agent count growth as rising mortgage rates thwarted buyer and seller interest. Still, King continued to focus on education and training; saying it would help Keller Williams keep momentum until sales rebound.

“Especially over the [past] five years, but really the last decade, this industry has been frothy. It has taken its eye off of the fiduciary at the center of the transaction — helping consumers have a better experience and make smarter decisions,” he said in a 2023 interview with Inman. “All kinds of different models have been tested, but really, at the end of the day, I go back to a quote from the last class I taught in a Keller Williams Market Center: ‘Someone has to sell a damn house.’”

“It’s what we do better than anybody else. It’s core to our training,” he added. “The most important thing for us and our agents to focus on right now is how to help consumers buy and sell real estate.”

Willis said the company is still counting on King’s passion for education and training to push the company through a continued rough patch.

Since Keller Williams is privately owned, it’s not required to publish earnings each quarter. However, during the company’s latest conference, Willis said agent growth has been flat over the past year and called for company leaders to usher in a new era of banner recruitment and retention as Keller Williams aims to take the franchise crown from Anywhere.

“We are excited that Marc will continue as an influential training and coaching leader for our Franchise Systems Orientation and the reinvigorating of our Team Leader and Keller Williams experiences; these are areas in which Marc is passionate and arguably peerless in his ability to be influential,” Willis said.

Along with the announcement of King’s departure, Keller Williams confirmed rumors of another round of layoffs. The layoffs included 30 full-time employees across several departments and were the result of the company’s renewed focus on its “core strengths and advantages.”

“As for the layoffs that occurred at KWRI, we wish all these people the very best and are massively grateful for their contributions,” Willis explained in a written statement. “The reduction in force of approximately 30 people at KWRI reflects the direction to get back to our core strengths and advantages — coaching, training, and proprietary technology.”

A company spokesperson said all 30 employees have received severance packages and will retain their benefits until the end of the month. All employees, he said, have been encouraged to apply for other positions within the company.

“As the market continues to evolve, Keller Williams’ strategic direction is to focus more than ever on the models, systems, and tools that got us to where we are today and will propel us to where we are going,” he added. In short, we have decided to eliminate business opportunities that are distracting us.”

“We’re excited for the future of Keller Williams, and we are excited about our partnership with you.”

Email Marian McPherson

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