Adam Contos is the recently retired CEO and Board Director of RE/MAX Holdings, the Denver-based global real estate franchise powerhouse that he has spent nearly two decades with. Adam’s retirement date from RE/MAX is March 31, 2022 after Adam took RE/MAX Holdings to record Earnings, Profit, and Earnings Per Share (EPS) in 2021 and early 2022 through a series of carefully calculated and planned strategic acquisitions, technology integrations and adjustments in the business.
Adam is known as a “CEO of the people,” which is demonstrated daily through his personal outreach, business communication, executive branding, constant learning, and living a very intentional life of systems and habits that create happiness and success. This is based on the philosophy of “Modeling Leadership”–or, as the leader does, so too shall those being led. He leads from the front. Adam believes that “How you do one thing is how you do all things,” which exemplifies his early rising and intentional daily habits to influence leadership and growth in others as well as build businesses. This is holistic to our lives, which involve not only business but also in our personal lives, relationships, families, health, faith and finances.
The day after graduating high-school, Adam was headed to boot camp for the United States Marine Corps. This was truly the hardest thing he had done to this point in his life, but he liked a challenge and wanted to do what it takes to become one of the best. This became his lifelong pursuit of leveraging challenge to pursue excellence. While serving in the Marine Corps Reserves, Adam began a career in law enforcement. Adam, along with his brother Christian, are third-generation law enforcement officers and are proud to serve our communities. Adam began his law enforcement career path with the Cherry Hills Village Police Department and moved shortly thereafter to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado–one of the fastest growing counties in the nation. Adam rose in the ranks, becoming a lieutenant after 9 years with the organization and commanding the SWAT team–one of the most specialized assignments in the organization. In law enforcement, Adam also worked as an undercover narcotics agent for two years, patrol officer, investigator and supervisor. To this day, Adam remains a volunteer (reserve) Deputy Sheriff, working with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado.
While a full-time law enforcement officer, Adam regularly engaged in entrepreneurial ventures, starting a successful online government supply company and a security consulting firm. In 2003, Adam’s consulting firm began a program to help real estate agents perform their tasks in a “safer” manner, and the S.A.F.E.R. (Safety Awareness For Every Realtor) program was purchased by RE/MAX in a partnership with Adam to deliver safety awareness and response training globally to RE/MAX’s global agent network. The leadership at RE/MAX became impressed with Adam’s business and interpersonal skills and hired him full time as a business consultant in early 2004.
Adam progressed quickly through the growing organization, becoming a regional director, vice president, then overseeing some of the most difficult regions in the company. Adam’s team won Region of the Year two years in a row and reimagined how franchising occurred across the organization. While a senior vice president of marketing and franchise sales, Adam returned to college to pursue his Executive MBA at DU in Cohort 66. While working full time, still volunteering in law enforcement, and raising a family with 3 kids, Adam was able to achieve straight As in the MBA program at University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business. Once he graduated, Adam became the chief operating officer, co-CEO with founder/chairman Dave Liniger, and then chief executive officer and board director of RE/MAX.
RE/MAX now has over 142,000 full-time professional real estate agents in over 9,000 franchises in over 110 countries and territories around the world. RE/MAX is the #1 Brand in Real Estate as shown time and time again as well as the world’s leading seller of real estate with over 2 million transaction sides in 2021, something no other company has ever done. Nobody in the world sells more real estate than RE/MAX.
While Adam was chief operating officer in 2016, co-CEO in 2017 and CEO in 2018, the company began a major M&A strategy, acquiring multiple companies in tech, AI, data, web services and franchising. In 2017, Motto Mortgage was also started, which has become one of the leading emerging franchises in the United States with over 300 franchises sold in the first five years. Under Adam’s leadership, the organization has made the largest and most acquisitions in history and ended 2021 with the highest earnings, EBITDA, and EPS in history.
Adam elected to retire from RE/MAX in 2022 to continue pursuing entrepreneurial ventures including operating his leadership consulting and coaching firm, Executive Leadership Partners, as well as investing in growing organizations and franchisors as a partner with Area 15 Ventures, a private equity and venture capital firm.
Awards and Accomplishments
- 2010, 2011 RE/MAX Region of the Year
- 2015-2017 Executive MBA–University of Denver Daniels College of Business
- 2019 – 2022 Swanepoel Power 200–Named one of the most powerful leaders in Real Estate
- 2019 Denver Business Journal–Most Admired CEO
- 2019 Inducted into Forbes Real Estate Council–Council Member
- 2020 Newsmakers–Futurist Award
- 2021 American Business Awards–Maverick of the Year
- National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD)–Leadership Fellow Certification
- International Franchise Association–Board Director, Certified Franchise Executive
Adam has set a consistent pace in leadership presence, executive brand development, and constant personal growth to create greater business results. He began the podcast Start With a Win, one of the top 1% of podcasts to discuss leadership and personal development as a business and community leader–all based on kindness and giving. When Adam took over as CEO of RE/MAX, he instilled the values of MORE into the organization, which stand for:
Deliver to the Max
Be customer Obsessed
Do the Right thing
Together, Everybody wins
During the early stages of the pandemic, Adam appeared for over 40 weeks on regular video broadcasts to strengthen communication, instill clarity and confidence, and give the global RE/MAX and business audiences a leader to follow through this societal challenge. You can find Adam regularly creating leadership video broadcasts on social media or coaching other leaders on how their presence creates trust.
In October 2021, Adam published the book “Start With a Win” with Wiley and Sons publishing company. The book has been a big global hit among entrepreneurs and business leaders, discussing “Tools and Lessons to create Personal and Business Success.” All author proceeds from sale of the book are donated to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals by Adam.
Adam is focused on two key business imperatives:
- Building companies through a more present, trustworthy, transparent and values-driven leadership base. This starts at the Board, CEO and executive team and flows down through the organization to the customer and investor base.
- Building leaders through a greater system of presence, values, and habits that a company can be proud of introducing in their succession process.
These leadership systems create trust, which leads to accountability and results. Business in 2022 and beyond depends on these variables for at least the next couple of decades as we have seen emerge over the past couple of years.
Building for the Future
Adam has spent his life focused on growth. He and his wife, Kelly get up at 4:30am every weekday to work on their health and fitness so they can better deliver in the rest of their lives. Relationships, finances, faith and business work in tandem with this. When one lacks–all are reduced. Just as you can’t build a castle on unstable ground, you can’t build a business on unstable or weak leadership. Adam is here to help you with that development.