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Ex-Countrywide boss hits back at eMoov purchase claims

The former managing director of Countrywide has responded to claims made by Russell Quirk that the UK's largest agency rejected the chance to purchase 10% of eMoov in 2011.

Last week, writing on LinkedIn, Quirk, eMoov founder, claimed that following a meeting Countrywide declined an offer to purchase 10% of eMoov for £100,000.

Now, Bob Scarff, managing director of Countrywide at the time and named in Quirk's article, has responded. 

“I remember the meeting very clearly,” he told Estate Agent Today. 

“We were looking at the emerging 'no frills' estate agency space.” 

“We met Russell to see whether he had thought of anything that we didn't already have in our plan. He hadn't. We certainly didn't call the meeting because we wanted to invest in his business,” said Scarff.

Quirk said Countrywide's decision not to work with his firm could prove to be its 'Blockbuster moment' - referring to the video company's rejection of Netflix some 16 years ago.

The eMoov chief said he met with Countrywide executives on two occasions and both times was 'met with mere apathy and scepticism'.

In his article Quirk went on to describe Countrywide's recent decision to close 59 branches as 'the disintegration of the UK's largest estate agent'.

Scarff, who left Countrywide in 2015 and is now heading up PropTech Solutions with Rob Wellstead and Mal McCallion, says he wished he could have helped chief executive Alison Platt to 'deliver her modernisation vision without causing so many good people to feel so disengaged and that they had to leave.'

"I admire Alison and the non-executive directors that appointed her for having the courage to embark on a completely different strategy," says Scarff.

“I simply think that they're trying to change too many things that are either not yet ready for change or things that perhaps never will be.”

You can read our full interview with Bob Scarff in our Features section over the weekend.

  • Terence Dicks

    Nice to know that Mr Quirk still lives firmly inside his own head. Rather a damning statement from Bob Scarff about Alison Platt's vision though.

  • Rob  Davies

    Quirk telling porkies again? Surely not?

  • icon

    So Mr Quirk draws a comparison between eMoov and Netflix in all seriousness? One cannot accuse him of a lack of confidence or imagination.

  • Algarve  Investor

    “We met Russell to see whether he had thought of anything that we didn't already have in our plan. He hadn't. We certainly didn't call the meeting because we wanted to invest in his business.”

    You've gotta love Russell's gumption. The PR man's PR man. If Quirk says it, it must be true. Except it very probably isn't.

    He is a very entertaining figure and, I suppose, he does his job right by getting his name (and eMoov's) into the headlines as much as possible. At the same time, everything he says is taken with a massive pinch of salt, which must be quite damaging to his credibility.

  • Jon  Tarrey

    Quirk is a cad, isn't he? Say something, doesn't matter if it's true, then wait for the rebuttal. If the rebuttal doesn't come, Quirk's version of the story wins out. On this occasion, no such luck. His version of the story has been completely contradicted. Who do I believe? Well, not the one with RQ as his initials.

    As Algarve Investor points out above, Quirk is like the boy who cried wolf. The one time that he's actually telling the truth, people won't believe him because of japes like the above.

    I do genuinely wonder with Russell whether he actually believes what he says or it's just for PR purposes. I think it's probably the latter.

  • icon

    Another story to irk the Quirk

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