The Real Deal New York

Keller Williams Midtown CEO forced out: sources

Michael Guerra was the firm's third leader in roughly a year
By E.B. Solomont | February 15, 2019 05:00PM

From left:Keller Williams Midtown offices at 1155 6th Avenue, Michael Guerra, and Ilan Bracha (Credit: Google Maps)

Keller Williams Midtown has lost another CEO — the third in the past year. This one lasted just nine months on the job.

Michael Guerra, who was hired in June, was forced out earlier this week, sources said. Guerra, who spent many years at Douglas Elliman, was hired after the Midtown franchise lost two other leaders last year in quick succession, including Lezley Charles, who oversaw a massive hiring spree.

Prior to Keller Williams, Guerra spent eight years at Douglas Elliman, where he was executive vice president and director of sales for Brooklyn. He later was a sales manager in Brooklyn for CORE. Guerra could not be reached for comment.

In a statement, Keller Williams NYC co-owner Ilan Bracha said, “Our market and industry are in transition and we have adapted accordingly.” Bracha said Keller Williams focused on “taking market share” in 2018, and will embrace innovation in 2019 to become a “tech-centric market center.”

“With [Keller Williams Realty International’s] commitment to tech, we will be changing the game with cutting edge technology tools to bring business to the next level,” he said. Assistant team leader Elizabeth Cho will lead the Midtown office during its search for a new CEO with experience in real estate tech.

Keller Williams NYC — comprised of the Midtown and Tribeca franchises, which are run separately — launched in 2011 and had been one of the fastest-growing residential players in the city, hitting 900 agents two years ago.

But the Midtown franchise was forced to restructure last year after losing agents to other firms. That coincided with a shakeup of top managers. Last year, Bracha characterized the loss of agents as strategic, saying although the firm had 900 agents, many were not productive. “We saw where the market was heading,” he said at the time, describing a strategic shift.

After that pivot, the Manhattan franchises closed $204.5 million worth of sell-side deals in 2018, up 5.9 percent year-over-year, according to The Real Deal‘s recent ranking of the top residential brokerage firms in Manhattan. Its headcount dropped 16.34 percent to 686 agents.

Nationally, sources have said Texas-based Keller Williams had an unspoken policy of counting inactive agents as part of their headcount. Earlier this month, company officials said they were taking immediate action to correct the roster.