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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Countrywide pay chief quits after ‘Fat Cats' controversy

Countrywide, which was hit by a row over executive pay during the summer, is now on the look out for a new remuneration chief following a surprise resignation.

Sky News reports that Countrywide has hired headhunters to identify a new non-executive director to replace Cathy Turner as chair of the company's remuneration committee - she is believed to have been the person who drew up the controversial pay package that prompted an investor revolt earlier this year.

Under the scheme, abandoned after high profile criticism in August, the executive chairman Peter Long could have received stock worth well over £6m under Countrywide's new Absolute Growth Plan.

Two other board executives - Paul Creffield, the group managing director, and chief financial officer Himanshu Raja - could have received shares valued at more than £8m and £7m respectively.

The deal quickly earned the name 'Countrywide Fat Cats' amongst agents working in branches.

Countrywide agreed to an embarrassing U-turn on the package after widespread criticism of it happening at the same time as the company’s Back To Basics programme attempting to attract staff back to the company.

Now Sky says Ridgeway Partners, a search firm, had been asked to find a successor to Cathy Turner, who has been on the group's board and chaired its remuneration committee since 2013.

Sky says it is unclear whether Turner would step down from the Countrywide board altogether or just relinquish her responsibility for setting boardroom pay.

Countrywide has declined to comment on the subject.

  • Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies

    With Pre-Tax (£ m) profit last year of minus 212.75M and a share price bobbling around 8.6p, I think a lot of deckchairs are going to be moving around the deck of HMS Titanic very soon, sad as I have fond memories of working at Countrywide in the mid 1980's.

    They should have stuck to high fees, high service, market dominance, and high paid staff which encouraged 'big sales hitters' to want to work for the brand, instead they have retained loss making offices for years, and played at being PB and offer loss making fee deals.

    They can change the top management but they should go and see the junior management in the branches - they are key, they are on the front line.

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