Daily Archives: March 16, 2020

Top agency rocked by large number of senior figures quitting

Top agency rocked by large number of senior figures quitting

Estate Agent Today understands that the Knight Frank agency has been hit by a large number of branch office heads quitting in a short period.

Over the past six months it’s understood the office heads of the Kensington, Richmond, Victoria, Clapham, Islington, South Kensington, Battersea and Wimbledon branches have departed. All have pedigrees on the sales side of the industry.

The company has denied a suggestion that the departures included senior women.

One source has told EAT that the exodus was down to what they called “the Foxtonisation” of Knight Frank in recent times, suggesting that both its structure and culture had changed markedly.

Earlier this month EAT revealed three senior figures had quit the agency’s Kensington office in what a source called “unhappy circumstances” – one of the departures had worked in the industry for 35 years. Earlier this year Knight Frank lost high profile central London agent Daniel Daggers – known in the industry as Mr Super Prime – who had been the subject of media speculation with regard to his social media posts.

In response to the large number of senior departures in London in recent months, Estate Agent Today has been told by Tim Hyatt, Knight Frank’s head of London: It is unfortunate that we have seen a selection of individual departures from our London business, however, they were by mutual consent. We understand that people’s circumstances can change and, if that is the case, they absolutely go with our blessing.

“In addition, bar one, all of these positions were replaced internally, despite strong interest from external candidates, showing our dedication to nurturing and retaining the best people and career development.

“As you saw from our announcement last week, we remain incredibly positive about our fantastic London business. 

“Our best in class team has had a strong start to the year, responding well and capitalising on the positive market sentiment post-election. 

“As one example, James Pace, Proprietary Partner and Head of the Chelsea office, will move to lead the Kensington sales team. James has been in the Knight Frank Partnership since 2006 and opened the Chelsea office in 2007, building a highly successful team and an unrivalled track record in the Chelsea and wider prime central London market.

“Supporting James, William Allen also joins the Kensington sales team as partner following 10 years at Strutt & Parker in their prime sales team, specialising in the Kensington and Holland Park markets. In Chelsea, Charles Olver has been promoted to Department Head for sales, taking over from James Pace. Charles has been with the firm for over ten years, based in the Knightsbridge office where he has been a Prime Central London negotiator.”

Countrywide share price dives over 50% after takeover collapse

Countrywide share price dives over 50% after takeover collapse

Countrywide’s share price has dived over 50 per cent during the course of the day, following news of LSL pulling out of takeover talks.

The share price dropped by around a third within minutes of the LSL move; during the morning it worsened further and by lunchtime it was down over 51 per cent at 84.10p.

Almost all property sector share prices have dropped significantly today, as a result of another day of Coronavirus panic on stock markets, but those falls have been far less than that of Countrywide.

After LSL pulled the plug on a possible takeover, Countrywide issued a statement saying: “As announced by Countrywide on the 11th March, the Company has been seeing the benefits from its ‘Back to basics’ turnaround plan, with continuing operations having returned to growth in profitability. The board of Countrywide remains confident in the strength of the underlying business as an independent company.”

And it added: “The company has seen a positive mood swing in public sentiment through the early part of 2020 which we have seen reflected in a strong start in agreed sales which are ahead of the board’s expectations through February 2020. Whilst we have seen some softening in recent days as a result of Covid-19, it is too early to assess that impact.”

The company is to issue its 2019 full year figures by the end of this month.