Home news Countrywide chief 'close to exit' after profit alert

Countrywide chief 'close to exit' after profit alert

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The leadership of Countrywide, the listed estate agent and property services group, is in doubt just days after a profit warning sent its shares crashing to a record low.

Sky News has learnt that board members have been discussing the future of Alison Platt in the aftermath of news last week that the owner of Hamptons and Bridgefords would make only £65m in the financial year just ended.

City sources suggested on Monday night that an announcement about her departure was possible in the next few days, ?although they cautioned that it had not yet been finalised.
“I’d be surprised if there’s been nothing official by the time of the results (on 8 March),” one source said.
Ms Platt, who has been in charge of Countrywide since 2014, is a former Bupa and British Airways executive, and was a rare appointment to the helm of a big estate agency group because of her background outside the industry.
?In a full-year trading update last week, Countrywide said it had suffered from a disappointing performance in its sales and lettings business in the fourth quarter.
The company describes itself as the UK’s biggest integrated property services group, with a large business-to-business function offering surveying and conveyancing services.
Its financial? services division receives commission from the sale of insurance policies and mortgages.
Countrywide’s shares hit an all-time low on Monday, with the company worth 40% less than the same time last year.

It now has a market value of just £254m.
An employee memo ?written by Ms Platt and quoted by the trade title Estate Agent Today told staff that the company’s performance was “not what we had planned and rightly I expect the reaction from our shareholders and the wider market to be challenging”.
Speaking last week, the under-pressure chief said that digital competition from the likes of Purplebricks and a weaker housing market in the aftermath of the EU referendum had contributed to Countrywide’s stuttering performance.
Countrywide is chaired by Peter Long, who holds the same role at Royal Mail Group.
Its board members also include Richard Adam, the former finance director of Carillion, the collapsed construction group.

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Mr Adam is to step down from the Countrywide board this year.
Countrywide did not return a series of calls seeking comment on Ms Platt’s future on Monday night.

Source: SKY