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Yet another senior management figure departs from Countrywide

Estate Agent Today understands that Countrywide's Chief Information Officer is the latest high-profile manager to leave the organisation.

Oliver Skagerlind joined Countrywide, Britain's largest property group, in February 2011 after previous jobs at RBS Insurance, Centrica Carphone Warehouse and American Express.

At Countrywide he had responsibility for all aspects of information technology within the group.


A statement to Estate Agent Today from Countrywide says: "After five years Oliver Skagerlind decided it is time to move on and explore new opportunities and will leave the group on March 31 2016. We wish Oliver all the very best for the future."

This is merely the latest of a string of high profile departures and management changes at Countrywide, some of them exclusively revealed on EAT in recent months. 

In May 2015 the managing director of estate agency, Bob Scarff, and group commercial director Nick Dunning both stepped aside at short notice.

In September Countrywide asked many of the group's senior managers to apply for jobs in the reorganised management structure. 

Chief Digital Officer Alex Bailes stepped down in October, a few days after representing the company at a major property technology conference at which he outlined a 'hybrid' future for the group's estate agency activities.

In November Operations Managing Director Steve Richmond, Group Head of Analytics Simon Hayter, and Information Technology Services Director Simon Springett left.

Shortly after the Christmas break it was revealed that Countrywide had hired headhunters to find a replacement for chairman Grenville Turner.

While all of this has been going on, a huge reorganisation of the group has seen an organisational swing to a lettings-led 'retail' culture. 

A retail guru from Carphone Warehouse, a former Lloyds Bank Group chief and a human resources expert from BUPA are amongst those drafted in by chief executive Alison Platt to head up the organisation, as well as some senior managers from the pre-Platt era.

Platt, meanwhile, has let it be known that Countrywide's numerous high street brands will be reduced in number, that the organisation is likely to buy a tech start-up as part of its attempt to launch an online agency, and that it will seek to expand lettings and commercial property activity as a way of diversifying and reducing risk from a potentially-volatile residential sales sector.

In 2014 - the latest figures available - Countrywide sold £19 billion worth of residential property, more than any other UK agency group. It also completed on £10 billion of mortgages, making it the largest single mortgage broker in the UK. It also manages 70,000 units, making it the largest player in UK property management. 

* Estate Agent Today witnessed the upheaval at first hand on Friday. We checked this story with senior press officer Christine Webb on Friday morning; when a response came from another press officer on Friday afternoon, we were told that Christine Webb, too, had left the organisation.

  • Terence Dicks

    Hilarious!! Somewhat uncertain working for Countrywide right now.

  • Jon  Tarrey

    Dropping like flies. Who will be next?

  • Rob  Davies

    This is all a bit strange. Given how much they're growing, it seems very paradoxical that so many of their top team are leaving. It can't be the whole deserting a sinking ship argument, because they're not sinking. Unless there is something we don't know about. Very odd.

    On the other hand, might just be a case of someone leaving for pastures new and we're looking for controversy where there isn't any. Who knows?

  • Anna  Dickson

    Certainly a shake-up in Countrywide over the last few months, departure after departure it seems. At a time when the company is changing so rapidly too!


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