Stacy Armijo
Pierpont Communications

Texas REALTORS® names Travis Kessler CEO

Experienced Realtor association executive selected in nationwide search to lead state’s largest association

December 08, 2009 — Austin

Today, the Texas REALTORS® (TAR) announced the appointment of Travis Kessler as the next chief executive officer of the organization. Currently CEO of the San Antonio Board of Realtors (SABOR), Kessler was selected from among more than 100 applicants as part of a nationwide search to replace retiring CEO Benny McMahan.

Kessler has served the Realtor family for 32 years, including more than 20 years as a local association executive in Texas, first with the Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors and for the past 12 years with SABOR. In November, Kessler received the William R. Magel Award, the highest honor the National Association of Realtors (NAR) bestows on a Realtor association executive.

“Travis is an exceptional communicator who has earned respect throughout the Realtor family over more than 30 years of service,” said current CEO Benny McMahan. “Like any good CEO, he understands that it’s not about what you did yesterday but what you’ll do tomorrow. I have complete confidence placing the organization under his leadership.”

Kessler was selected by an appointed committee of Texas Realtor leaders and facilitated by consultant Jerry Matthews. Matthews served as CEO of the Illinois Association of Realtors for nine years and CEO of the Florida Association of Realtors for 19 years.

Randy Jeffers, chairman of the selection committee, commented on the selection process: “I can say without question that we’ve found the best leader in the country for the job. Many in our association have known Travis for 25 years or more and have full confidence in his abilities. After evaluating more than 100 candidates and participating in a very rigorous interview process to ensure our decision was based on the best match of skills, experience and characteristics for the role, we found the best candidate right here in Texas.”

In addition to his role at SABOR, Kessler has a long history of service at both the state and national levels of the Realtor family. Most recently, he was 2009 chairman of NAR’s Strategic Planning Committee. He has also served on TAR’s Strategic Planning Committee for the past two years.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with and around Benny McMahan for more than 25 years and have the highest respect for his leadership,” said Kessler. “In his tenure, the Texas REALTORS® has become one of the most influential organizations in Texas, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue that tradition of excellence.”

After almost 50 years in the real estate industry, McMahan will retire in the first quarter of 2010. He founded a real estate brokerage in Dallas in the 1960s and sold it in 1982 to become executive officer of the Dallas Board of Realtors (now the MetroTex Association of Realtors). In 1990, he was hired as CEO of the Texas REALTORS®. Since then, the organization has grown from 35,000 members to more than 83,000 and has come to be recognized as the most influential organization in Texas politics. In 2007, McMahan received the national William R. Magel Award in recognition of his exceptional service as an association executive. McMahan will officially retire following TAR’s 2010 Winter Meeting, which concludes Feb. 23.

About Texas REALTORS®

With more than 135,000 members, Texas REALTORS® is a professional membership organization that represents all aspects of real estate in Texas. We are the advocate for REALTORS® and private property rights in Texas. Visit to learn more.