Missouri chief picked as California Realtors’ new CEO – Daily News

on Dec21
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The head of Missouri’s Realtor group has been chosen to take over next year as the California Association of Realtors’ new chief executive officer, the state trade association announced Monday, Dec. 20.

John Sebree, CEO of the 22,000-member Missouri Realtors, will replace outgoing CAR Chief Executive Joel Singer, who is retiring on Jan. 4 after 43 years with the California association, 32 of them as CEO.

CAR’s leadership team made the decision after “an extensive nationwide search,” CAR said.

The move will mean Sebree will go from leading an organization that’s smaller than the combined membership of the Orange and San Diego county Realtor groups to running the nation’s biggest state Realtor association, with more than 200,000 members.

But Sebree’s “deep industry expertise” and familiarity with real estate issues gave him the edge over other contenders for the job, including a handful of in-state Realtor association leaders, CAR officials said. His background – which includes decades working with state and national Realtor groups as well as with Congress – will help him in the mission of keeping agents “at the center of the real estate transaction,” CAR President Otto Catrina said in a statement.

“With extensive knowledge of organized real estate and the legislative process, he is well-positioned to positively impact members’ business success,” Catrina said.

After earning a business degree at Northern Kentucky University, Sebree joined the staff of the U.S. House Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs, according to his LinkedIn page. After two years, he went to work as legislative representative for the National Association of Realtors while earning an MBA in economics and public policy from the George Washington University School of Business.

In 2003, he moved to Tallahassee to work as the public policy vice president for Florida Realtors, leaving that job a decade later for the Missouri Realtors CEO position. He will assume his new duties in Los Angeles on Feb. 1.

“My goal is to ensure the Realtor organization is the pre-eminent source of essential business services and the strongest force advocating for our members’ interests,” Sebree said in a statement announcing his selection.

A separate pro-business foundation Sebree chairs recently came under fire from some Missouri Democrats for being too closely aligned with GOP Gov. Mike Parson, according to news reports. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch quoted Missouri Democrats as saying state funding of the Hawthorn Foundation’s economic development efforts was due to its close ties with the governor.

The newspaper quoted Sebree as denying assertions the governor’s office influenced the decision to hire the wife of the governor’s chief of staff as the foundation’s new executive director.

During his three-decade tenure, Singer urged California Realtors to adopt new industry practices as technology took a dominant role in the housing market. He also lobbied on behalf of reforms to expand Proposition 13 tax protections for homeowners while advocating for increased homebuilding to address the state’s severe housing shortage.

Sebree’s experience and “forward-thinking perspective” will help CAR members navigate that “always evolving environment,” Singer said.

“I have great confidence in John’s and our leadership team’s abilities to guide the organization forward and be staunch advocates for CAR’s policy positions,” he said.

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