Leyson denies he’ll exit Hilton & Hyland

Word in industry circles nonetheless raises question of whether he’ll join star broker Drew Fenton in startup

Former Hilton & Hyland marketing chief Ed Leyson (Instagram, Getty)
Former Hilton & Hyland marketing chief Ed Leyson (Instagram, Getty)

Ed Leyson, the longtime director of marketing for luxe brokerage Hilton & Hyland, sent an email to The Real Deal denying that he has given notice and plans to end his tenure at the Beverly Hills firm.

” I am still at Hilton & Hyland and will continue to do my work at the highest level at Hilton & Hyland,” wrote Leyson, responding to inquiries sparked by comments from sources with knowledge of the situation. Multiple sources recently said that Leyson had told colleagues that he will be taking time off to spend with his family.
However, the prospect of his exit raised questions on whether a startup brokerage helmed by Hilton & Hyland star agent Drew Fenton is taking shape.

Leyson was listed as managing member of a new residential brokerage being set up by Fenton under the name Carolwood Partners. In August, TRD broke news that Fenton had filed registration papers with the California Secretary of State to start the business. Carolwood already had an address at 9440 Santa Monica Blvd., an office building on the corner of Beverly Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard, less than a mile away from Hilton & Hyland’s headquarters.

Neither Fenton nor Carolwood partner Nick Segal returned emails requesting comment.

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Leyson’s departure from Hilton & Hyland would be the latest twist for the Beverly Hills brokerage, which has been in transition since co-founder Jeff Hyland died from cancer in February. There have been questions on who will be the firm’s owners. Current owners include Hyland’s widow Lori Hyland and Rick Hilton, whose grandfather founded Hilton Hotels. Hilton also is married to Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast member Kathy Hilton, and is father of socialite Paris Hilton.

On Sept. 2, Hilton & Hyland’s longtime general manager, Billy Jack Carter, resigned from the firm.

Many of Los Angeles’ top residential agents, such as Mauricio Umansky, Rayni Williams and Branden Williams, worked for Hilton & Hyland before going on to their own brokerages.

Hilton & Hyland continues to be competitive in the luxe residential game. Hilton & Hyland’s Stuart Vetterick was ranked 19th on The Real Deal’s 2022 list of top residential agents in Los Angeles. Vetterick co-represented the buyer for The One mega mansion when it sold for $126 million in the priciest Los Angeles residential sale of the year. Hilton & Hyland agent Linda May co-represented the seller for this summer’s $35 million deal for Bel Air estate Il Sogno. 1960s movie star Yvette Mimieux lived at the Tuscan style estate.

Hilton & Hyland notched $4.3 billion in sales in Los Angeles County last year, according to the most recent rankings by the Los Angeles Business Journal, which pegged Fenton for $860 million worth of deals.

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