The head of the Missouri Realtor Group has been selected to take over as the new chief executive officer of the California Association of Realtors next year, the state trade association announced Monday, Dec. 20.
John Sebri, CEO of the 22,000-member Missouri Realtors, will replace outgoing CAR Chief Executive Joel Singer, who is retiring on January 4 after 43 years with the California Association, 32 of whom are as CEO.
CAR’s leadership team made the decision after “an extensive nationwide search”, CAR said.
The move would mean that Sebri would lead an organization that is smaller than the combined membership of the Orange and San Diego County Realtor groups and runs the largest state realtor association in the country with more than 200,000 members.
But Sebree’s “deep industry expertise” and familiarity with real estate issues gave her an edge over other contenders for the job, including some state realtor association leaders, CAR officials said. His background — which has included working with state and national realtor groups as well as Congress for decades — will help him in his mission to put agents “at the center of real estate transactions,” CAR President Otto Caterina said in a statement. .
“With an extensive knowledge of organized real estate and the legislative process, she is well positioned to positively impact the business success of members,” Caterina said.
According to the LinkedIn page, Sebri joined the staff of the US House Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs after earning a business degree at Northern Kentucky University. After two years, he went on to work as a legislative representative for the National Association of Realtors, 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 vice president of public policy for Florida Realtors, leaving that job a decade later for the Missouri Realtors CEO position. He will assume his new assignment in Los Angeles on February 1.
“My goal is to ensure that the Realtor Organization is the leading source of essential professional services and the strongest force advocating for the interests of our members,” Sebri said in a statement announcing his selection.
A separate pro-business foundation Sebri chairs was recently criticized by some Missouri Democrats for being too closely associated with GOP Gov. Mike Parson, according to news reports. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch quoted the Missouri Democrats as saying that state funding of the Hawthorne Foundation’s economic development efforts was due to its close relationship with the governor.
The newspaper quoted Sebri as saying that the governor’s office influenced the decision to appoint 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 played a major role in the housing market. He lobbied for reforms to expand Proposition 13 tax protections for homeowners, while advocating for increased home construction to address the state’s severe housing shortage.
Seabri’s experience and “forward-thinking approach” will help CAR members navigate an “always-evolving environment,” Singer said.
“I have great confidence in the abilities of John and our leadership team to grow the organization and be a staunch supporter of CAR’s policy position,” he said.