From Staff Reports
Longtime Ebby Halliday Companies president and CEO Mary Frances Burleson, an icon in the organization hired by founder Ebby Halliday in 1958, has stepped down from her position to focus on the firm’s eponymous nonprofit — the Ebby Halliday Foundation. In her place, Chris Kelly has been named CEO. Kelly, recently the senior counsel of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, is expected to mold the company’s strategy and direct operations with the aim of shaping the venerable North Texas brokerage’s brand while preserving the legacy of the company’s highly regarded founder, Ebby Halliday Acers.
“Mary Frances and her exceptional leadership team set an incredible level of excellence for the company,” Kelly said. “I am thrilled to join this team of immensely talented agents, sales managers, employees and lending and title professionals. The opportunity to help lead this iconic company to its next level of growth and performance is both humbling and exciting.”
Ebby Halliday Companies was purchased by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices — a company owned by Warren Buffet — in July of 2018. The news of the acquisition was announced at the recently opened Frisco Star headquarters of the Dallas Cowboys on May 21 to much fanfare. HomeServices also owns Allie Beth Allman & Associates.
“I am pleased to welcome Chris as CEO of the Ebby Halliday Companies,” said Ron Peltier, chairman and CEO of HomeServices. “Chris understands the real estate business from all perspectives and is keenly aware of the opportunities and challenges faced every day in brokerage offices. He is the right leader to grow the company and help position the agents for even greater success.”
The Ebby Halliday Foundation, launched in September of this year, is a 501(c)(3) organization that supports charitable and educational activities that serve women and children in need in the greater North Texas region. Ebby passed away in 2015 at age 104.
“That’s what Ebby did during her lifetime — she helped people and helped organizations [so this foundation will] continue doing that,” said Ebby Halliday Companies CFO Ron Burgert, a founding member of the board of directors of the foundation, in September. “I knew Ebby all my life and she would absolutely be smiling about this and wanting us to carry on after she is gone.”
Burleson stewarded the Ebby Halliday Companies for years, and was frequently recognized for her leadership of one of the most recognizable brands in real estate in all of Texas.
“I am proud of everyone at Ebby Halliday and what we have achieved,” Burleson said in a statement. “Honoring Ebby’s legacy of service to the client, service to the industry and service to the community has always been a top priority for me. Chris has shown himself to be a leader with impeccable business ethics, personal sincerity and a deep understanding of the real estate business — all values that align with our heritage while pointing to an exciting future. I believe that Ebby would agree that with Chris at the helm, the future of Ebby Halliday couldn’t be brighter.”
We look forward to seeing what Burleson does to carry on Ebby’s legacy of doing something for someone every day through the Ebby Halliday Foundation.
“Chris brings extensive industry knowledge to the Ebby Halliday Companies and the HomeServices executive team. I am confident that under his leadership, the Ebby Halliday Companies are well-positioned for future growth,” concluded Peltier. “Mary Frances helped guide Ebby Halliday to become one of the country’s foremost real estate companies. On behalf of HomeServices, we thank Mary Frances for her years of service and her vision and leadership, which helped the Ebby Halliday Companies achieve the market-leading position they enjoy today.”