There was confirmation this morning, as expected, that Countrywide chief executive Alison Platt has quit - but so far there is no news on the ‘golden goodbye’ she is receiving.
Word spread rapidly early yesterday evening that Platt was going to go after three and a half years at the helm.
On her final full day prior to this morning’s announcement, the company’s share price fell below 100.00p for the first time; last week there had been an unscheduled trading statement and profits warning, and Platt herself told staff in a note that she was expecting a “challenging” response from shareholders and the stock market.
Estate Agent Today asked Countrywide’s press office yesterday about details of the terms under which Platt would be leaving the organisation; we have not received a response to our enquiry. Today's confirmation of Platt's departure says details of her severance package will be released "as soon as possible."
Below we have published the full statement made to the London Stock Exchange at 7am today:
The Board of Countrywide plc ('Countrywide' or the 'Company' or 'Group') announces that Alison Platt has resigned as Chief Executive Officer of the Group and will stand down from the Board.
The Board has asked Peter Long to become Executive Chairman to which he has agreed until such time as a successor is appointed. Paul Creffield, previously Managing Director, Commercial Development has been appointed Group Operations Director with immediate effect. Respected in the industry with extensive experience in both Countrywide and the estate agency market he will work closely with Peter. Paul's remit will now also include responsibility for the Sales and Lettings Division.
The Board acknowledges the commitment Alison has given to the Group and wishes her well for the future.
Alison Platt commented: "Since joining in 2014 I have worked hard, within a difficult market, to structure a fragmented business into one set for success. I believe those actions will serve Countrywide well in the future. However, the time is now right for me to step aside. I look forward to seeing the business build back and return to growth."
Peter Long, Chairman commented: "In Countrywide we have a strong and successful business in Financial Services, B2B and Commercial led by an experienced and committed management team. Within our core Sales and Lettings area, however, we have lost focus and a key priority will be to implement changes that will enable this area to start delivering once again. Working together with this experienced executive team I feel confident we can return the business to profitable growth."
Additional information - The Group will give further details on its strategy at its preliminary results on 8 March 2018.
Alison Platt's severance terms have been agreed and details will be posted on the Company's website in accordance with section 430(2B) of the Companies Act 2006 as soon as practicable.
As Non-Executive Chairman of Countrywide, Peter Long currently receives a fee of £180,000 per annum. The Remuneration Committee proposes that Peter's annual fee is increased to £360,000 during the period that he is Executive Chairman of Countrywide. Peter's appointment as Executive Chairman is subject to regulatory approval.