Countrywide is in no rush to appoint a new chief executive, following the experience of having Alison Platt in the post between September 2014 and January this year.
Instead, Estate Agent Today understands that the senior management structure currently at the helm will continue at least until the announcement of Countrywide’s future strategy, which is to be revealed on July 26 when the firm’s next trading statement is made.
Currently there is a six-strong Executive Team consisting of Peter Long as Executive Chairman, Himanshu Raja as Chief Financial Officer, Paul Creffield as Executive Director, Peter Curran as Managing Director of Financial Service, and Paul Chapman serving as Managing Director of B2B.
It is understood the Long, Raja and Creffield are carrying most day to day strategic responsibility, with Creffield himself telling Estate Agent Today that he undertakes a high proportion - “80 to 90 per cent” - of the work traditionally associated with a chief executive.
“We’re not in the market for a chief executive. At some stage yes, but not in the near future. Between the three of us we’ve got what it takes for the moment” Creffield told EAT.
He says that to embark now on a recruitment process would be to dilute effort from creating the new strategy for the group, and would detract from the Back to Basics programme outlined by Long in the days and weeks following Platt’s departure.
In terms of overall staff numbers - including in some cases the return of those who left in the 2014-2018 period - Creffield says the group is “about 60 to 100 people away from where we want to be” with the priority being on re-equipping sales and lettings branches to be the kingpin of the organisation.
Platt’s workload varied significantly during her period as chief exec of the country’s largest estate agency group following a spate of senior management reorganisations and substantial blood-letting in terms of high-level departures.
In one of her final major restructurings, Platt took on a raft of new responsibilities in addition to those of a traditional CEO - in August 2017 she declared that she would focus on Sales, Lettings, Financial Services and Commercial divisions, with “Hamptons, Premier & City and existing retail territories” reporting to her as well.