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Graham Awards


Countrywide drafts in new faces from outside agency industry

A retail guru from Carphone Warehouse, a former Lloyds Banking Group chief and a human resources expert from BUPA are amongst the new brooms announced at Countrywide, in a dramatic reshaping of the agency group’s executive team.

There are some estate agency old hands in the reshuffle too. But Alison Platt - the ex-British Airways, ex-BUPA high-flier who herself lacked agency experience when she became Countrywide chief executive late last year - clearly regards an outside perspective as valuable in trying to modernise the sales and lettings giant, which is responsible for one in 10 property transactions in the UK.

In addition to Platt and her chief financial officer, Jim Clarke, the new executive team looks like this:

Managing Director, Retail - Samantha Tyrer: she joins from Dixons Carphone where she was responsible for 8,500 people across 1,100 branches. Her experience includes leading a retail turnaround strategy in 2012 by implementing a new digital strategy. Countrywide says her work will involve “leading the transformation of our sales and lettings businesses.”

Managing Director, Business to Business - Paul Creffield: he has nearly 20 years industry experience and will lead Countrywide’s B2B offering (Lambert Smith Hampton, Land & New Homes including Hamptons Residential Development Investment, Professional Services, Corporate Property Services and Corporate Business).

Managing Director, London - Graham Bell: Having led the recent Building Our Future Strategy programme while Finance Director across Estate Agency, Financial Services and London & Premier, Bell will now focus on developing the group’s target growth areas. 

Managing Director, Financial Services - Peter Curran: he joined this year from Lloyds Banking Group and his role, subject to FCA approval will be effective from September 1. Countrywide says he has “a clear mandate to lead the financial service teams bringing together their wealth of capabilities so as one team they drive future growth, capitalising on the growing broker market.”

Group HR Director - Kate Brown: shejoined from Bupa in March and wil brings experience across Talent Management, Employee Engagement, Leadership Development and Performance Management.

Group Transformation & Change Director - Andrew Pennells: how’s this for a job description? “Andrew will focus on leading the transformational change agenda as part of the Building Our Future Programme” says a Countrywide spokesman.

These positions are just the latest in a series of dramatic changes inside the hitherto-traditional world of Countrywide.

Two months ago the former managing director of estate agency and the group commercial director at Countrywide both stood down at short notice.

Bob Scarff, managing director of estate agency, had been involved in agency for 37 years: the official statement from Countrywide at the time said he intended to pursue his own personal ambitions outside of the group. 

Nick Dunning, group commercial director at Countrywide, had been at the group for seven years, mostly involved in the lettings business. The official statement in early May merely said Nick was leaving the company to pursue other activities. 

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    Well this certainly shows the scale of the beast! The lack of genuine agency experience would be a worry for me if I was involved, though.

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    I hear they're gunning to take on the online brigade. Maybe that's why the two 'proper' agency men left so suddenly?

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    Looks like it could be that way, Paul. I wonder, though, how this will work. Will all efforts be ploughed into an online business, or will they launch something with another name to run alongside current business? Very interesting situation ahead, me thinks.


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