Courtesy D.R. Horton

D.R. Horton announced the passing of Donald R. Horton, the company’s founder and chairman of the board of directors.

David V. Auld, the company’s executive vice chairman, has been appointed by the board to serve as executive chairman, effective immediately.

“It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my friend and our company’s iconic founder and chairman, Don “DR” Horton,” says Auld. “Throughout the company’s 46-year existence, he worked tirelessly to build a national home building operation with a strong company culture, and the impact of his personal involvement with our team of operators across the United States has contributed immeasurable value to our company and people.”

Horton, 74, served as chairman of D.R. Horton since it was formed in July 1991 and held the roles of president and CEO from July 1991 until November 1998. He was involved in the real estate and home building industries since 1972, and was the founder, sole or principal stockholder, director, and president of each of D.R. Horton’s predecessor companies, which date from 1978 to 1990.

“DR was truly a pioneer in the home building industry. From the first house he built in 1978 in Fort Worth, Texas, as a local home builder, he led the business to unprecedented growth regionally and then nationally,” said Auld. “Under DR’s leadership, we have had the privilege of helping more than 1 million American individuals and families achieve home ownership. We are all indebted to DR for his vision, tenacity, and never-ending drive to continue to grow and improve our company.”

Throughout the company’s history, Horton maintained a strategy of decentralized operational decision making. The company’s local leadership teams have been and continue to be empowered to make local business decisions, such as product offerings, price points, and home features.

Over the years, Horton traveled extensively visiting the company’s field operations. During these visits, he made it a point to meet everyone in the sales offices, job sites, and division offices. He continually emphasized that the people in the operational teams are the key to business success, and often referred to employees, home buyers, vendors, and subcontractors, as the D.R. Horton family.

While the builder has grown to be the largest in the country, the sentiment remains true. Horton championed several initiatives for the benefit of D.R. Horton employees and their families, including founding a summer camp and providing financial and other assistance to employees and their families who were victims of natural disasters.

“While he is impossible to replace, we will strive to carry on his legacy of enabling the dream of homeownership for individuals and families across the United States in every stage of their lives,” concludes Auld. “Our sincere condolences and prayers go out to DR’s wife, Marty; his sons, Ryan and Reagan; daughters-in-law, Stacy and Michelle; their four grandchildren; and the rest of DR’s family.”