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No replacement for resigned Agents' Mutual board member

Agents’ Mutual says no decision has yet been taken on a replacement for regional estate agency chief Clive Rook, who has quit the board of the organisation which operates new portal OnTheMarket.

Ian Springett, OTM chief executive, has told Estate Agent Today that "Agents' Mutual's board will continue to develop in line with the needs of the business. We have no announcements to make in this regard at this time."

Yesterday EAT revealed the resignation


In response to the story, Agents Mutual announced that Rook had not sought re-election at the company annual meeting “because he wishes to be able to focus more time on his highly successful estate agency business in the north east.”

Rook runs Rook Matthews Sayer, a prominent estate and letting agency with 17 branches in the north east of England.

The remaining board members of Agents’ Mutual are predominantly London-based. 

  • Rob  Davies

    Paul House, care to explain this? You seemed certain yesterday that he would be replaced. What do you say to this?

  • icon

    @Rob. You do realise that it's a non paid role. Really sorry but there's not enough hours in the day to explain to you this all works. You need to read up on it.

  • Rookie Landlord

    Well said, Paul. Explaining something to Rob Davies is like trying to get blood from a stone! It's not worth the bother.

  • Sceptical As Always

    ah a jumper off the sinking ship. Hasn't even made it to the pier yet, still in the dockyard being patched together... blub...blub...blub....

  • Rob  Davies

    Who said it had anything to with whether the role is paid or not? Not me, you're just making that up.

    You haven't actually given me an explanation, you've just copped out by pretending I'm the ignorant one and should go and do some reading up on the subject. You said yesterday that he would be replaced - well, today's announcement would suggest otherwise. So, as I asked yesterday, what happens if one by one each member of the AM board resigns? Will OTM go with it?

    AM/OTM supporters get very defensive against criticism, always have. It's almost like nothing is wrong and everything is going swimmingly, despite all recent evidence pointing to the contrary.

  • Kelly Evans

    Actually, Rob, if you read it properly, you'd see it says 'no decision has yet been taken on a replacement'. That doesn't mean it won't happen. It just means it hasn't happened yet.

    Your desperation to have little digs at OTM at every possible opportunity is quite laughable. People who use them are happy with the service they are offering - get over it already!

  • Lyn Burgoyne

  • Jon  Tarrey

    Lyn, you keep doing this to us. Is the comment bar not functioning correctly for you or something?

    Anyway, typical non-announcement from AM. We might do this, we may do that, we probably won't do anything. Bit like their business model :)

  • icon

    I am sick and tired of the meaningless threats and insinuations that come from AM supporters. Its been like this since the AM project got underway, with them using the 'imminent demise' of the main portals as their rallying cry. Well done, the emotion and rhetoric helped sign a decent number of agents, but equally it will create divisions as it becomes clear the huge promised fall materially short of success.

    The problem that they ignore is that once AM is shown to be a pathetic attempt to tame Rightmove (which has backfired spectacularly, and instead set Zoopla back a year or so while strengthening Rightmove's competitive position), there will be some significant consequences. Not least, any further attempt to launch in this space will be squarely rejected by anyone burned by the AM experience.

    I suggest that those who have drunk the Agents Mutual Kool-Aid have a really careful think about their behaviour and start to think about how AM can be adapted to give it a better chance of success. I would start with:

    1. Drop the 'one other portal rule' and remove the main blocker to wider participation and the potential threat of CMA action in the future (anyone who thinks this practice is not anti-competitive needs to take a short course in competition law)

    2. Get rid of the existing management team who seem intent on pursuing personal vendettas against Daily Mail Group/Primelocation/Zoopla rather than build a credible portal brand

    3. Relocate the business from Central London to the Midlands, where they can employ staff and house the business much more cost effectively. I am told that they are paying a significant premium to sales, service and tech staff which is not sustainable. Best to relocate the business and start with a clean slate.

    4. re-think the commercial terms which see agents expected to pay the same for almost nothing (which is what OTM delivers) as they pay for Zoopla (which delivers a decent level of response)

    5. Remove the anti-competitive barriers to virtual agents and developers. The project is trying to achieve too much by trying to block developers from reaching the wider public, stop virtual agents from getting traction AND building a successful portal. In fact, the exclusion of virtuals and developers hampers the project and ultimately will contribute to its demise

    The sad reality is though that too much power has been put into the hands of Ian Springet and he won't leave until the things is in tatters - he has too much to lose in terms of reputation and cash (if the rumours are true that he has a £500,000 salary, that is the biggest scandal of the project). He has built an over-payed but mediocre team who are failing to deliver and due to the structure of the board (which is made up on posh and London-centric agents, all of whom speak the same language as Springet) will continue until the money has run out.

    I am so glad that we stuck away from this silly project and I feel genuinely sad for the small independent agents who see the world changing, don't like it, and thought that this was the panacea. As a result they are left holding 5 year contracts for a product that doesn't work and was conceived with only the interests of the larger agents in mind.

    Its a disgrace.

  • Lyn Burgoyne

    I know I am still a Zoopla/Primelocation agent but I would never close the door on OTM. We need to stop squabbling and do what is best for our own businesses. I think Mr Rook is doing exactly that, taking care of his livelihood. Competition is a healthy thing and can be used to advantage if you are with different portals! So boys, whether you are a Capulet or a Montague, if you are with OTM or not, stop digging at each other, its not pretty and its wasting valuable energy which is better spent building a strong business.

  • Jon  Tarrey

    @ Paul House - you're towing the party line very well. Say nothing, just let people assume we know what we're talking about. Why can't you offer Rob an explanation if you know more than he does?

  • Lyn Burgoyne

    Thank you Jon Tarrey, ever helpful as always!

  • Simon Shinerock

    OTM a fully inclusive exclusive business that represents about a third of the industry comprised of the deluded and the deluded entitled. I cannot believe Mr Rook left for the reason given, he was certainly the odd man out perhaps the others didn't like the cut of his gib. As usual I remain on the fence :)

  • Algarve  Investor

    Excellent points, Eileen. I agree with pretty much all of that.

    AM should be snapping you up as a replacement for Rook. You might knock some sense into them.

  • icon

    The above is just about the worth of any comments on this.
    I you don't like the OTM brand stay out and get on with your own business like OTM is doing. What on earth does the general public think of all this 'pingponging'?

  • Algarve  Investor

    I don't think they would know anything about it, Ray. The portal wars is big news in the property industry, but outside of our little bubble I don't think it carries much traction. The public would know of RM and Z - because they're major brands and nearly everyone starts their property search on one of them - but other than that, I don't think they'd have any idea about AM, OTM or the divisions they have caused.

    It might be a bit tawdry at times - especially when Zoopla and OTM are at each other's throats - but you can't deny it makes for a great debate. It's like politics or football, very tribal, very little-fence sitting. It evokes strong opinions from most people.

  • Kelly Evans

    Lots of people here dancing on the grave of OTM over one poxy resignation, it's just nonsensical. Seriously, people, get a sense of perspective!

    As Paul House explained y'day, this sort of thing happens all the time. It's a normal situation. But the anti-OTMers will find any excuse to froth at the mouth and get all worked up over nothing. It's pretty pathetic.

  • icon

    @Algarve Investor.
    My comment about 'the above is just about .......' was referring to my own previous comment which contained absolutely nothing! (it seems to have now been removed)
    I hit the button too early!

  • icon
    • 17 June 2015 14:00 PM

    These portal wars really do get everyone riled up! I'm not a fan of AM/OTM or their member rules but there has only been one resignation after all. Will this lead to its demise? Just have to wait and see.

  • Richard White

    I'm having a cup of coffee.

  • Simon Shinerock

    I'm eating Puy Lentils and Cod

  • Jon  Tarrey

    Can I be the first to ask, what on earth is a Puy Lentil and is it as disgusting as it sounds?

    @Richard White - you're turning this comments page into Twitter, old boy.

    But, since you asked, I just had a bacon sarnie with plenty of brown sauce. Oh, the joys of being retired!

  • Neil Briggs

    This has gone off course a bit!

    Back to the original article, I think this has all been blown out all proportion and could be cleared up by a proper statement from AM. The more they say nothing, the more the rumour mill will be in overdrive.

  • Richard White

    Hi Jon.

    I thought I'd inject a bit of light real-life into the otherwise tedious duality of the internet and the property game.

    I've just had an antihistamine. Eyes itching like an itching-powder coated Orangutan. Bloody pollen.

  • Jamie  Humm

    I'm probably not in the best position to comment on the portal wars, but in this case 'mountain out of a molehill' springs to mind. Man resigns from board, board says they don't yet know if he will be replaced. I can't understand where the uproar has come from.

  • Richard White

    Very good point, Jamie. The most comments I've ever seen over a non-event!

  • icon
    • R M
    • 17 June 2015 17:39 PM

    The record is well over 140 posts from Peebee gnawing at Peter Hendry

  • Richard White

    Is it? I must have been cutting individual blades of grass in the back garden with scissors that day!

  • Simon Shinerock

    Peebee where are you?

  • Simon Shinerock

    Peebee where are you?


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