Berkshire Hathaway is changing up its Chicago-area leadership structure in an effort to shore up its agent base after a series of high-profile defections.
Nancy Nagy will step back to an “advisory role” of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff Realty Group after eight years leading the firm, the company said. A trio of new executives will take her place, each focusing on a new aspect of operating Cook County’s fourth-largest brokerage by volume.
Diane Glass, a 12-year veteran of the firm, will become chief operating officer, an expansion of her current role overseeing the business development, information technology and agent development departments.
Joe Stacy, who manages the brokerage’s west suburban offices, will become a senior vice president responsible for coaching agents and growing their business across the region. And Mark Pasquesi, managing broker of the firm’s Lake County offices, will rise to the role of president and focus on recruiting new agents.
The new structure “allows us to have a laser focus on … what each of our strengths are,” Pasquesi said. “I’m going to be focused outward and looking at strategic growth opportunities, which is something I’m very good at.”
Pasquesi will remain managing broker of the firm’s Lake Forest, Highland Park and Libertyville offices. Under his leadership, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff has the top market share in the Lake Forest area and the top luxury seller of any office in Lake County, according to the company.
Pasquesi said the new structure will “create a much more intimate relationship between the agent and executive team,” giving the corporate office a clearer window into the needs of its agents on the ground.
The firm is looking to replenish its agent pool after years of declining market share. Multiple high-producing brokers have jumped over to Compass since the new brokerage arrived in 2017, most notably Jeff Lowe, who was the region’s top seller by volume that year. Hinsdale-area broker Kris Berger was the most recent defection to Compass.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff agents notched about $2.5 billion in total sales in Cook County last year, according to an analysis by The Real Deal. It ranked fourth, two spots above Compass, which registered about $1.4 billion in sales.
The older brokerage has seen its sales volume shrink since the 2014 merger that combined Prudential Rubloff Properties with Koenig & Strey Real Living, and the firm closed a Lincoln Park office last year.
A company spokesperson said the decline is “reflective of the larger real estate market changes,” adding that the brokerage recently opened new offices in Highland Park, Oak Park and Michigan City, Indiana.
The sluggish local housing market has not helped brokerages jockeying for talent. Luxury and across-the-board home sales both plummeted last month, leaving agents to compete for a shrinking pool of sellers.
Pasquesi said keeping agents happy would be key to keeping his company competitive in the race for talent. He said the new leadership model would focus on improving the lives of agents by putting them more closely in touch with executives, an echo of the agent-first gospel espoused by Compass CEO Robert Reffkin.
“If you create an environment and a culture where agents want to be, everything else falls into place,” Pasquesi said. “Your agents will become the biggest endorsers of the experience, and that’s what maintains retention and helps recruit new agents.”
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff has about 1,500 agents and employees working across 24 Chicago-area offices. Its parent company, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, announced this spring that it would expand into the Middle East with a new office in Dubai.