Peter Long, the chairman of the troubled Royal Mail organisation, has stepped down from that role to focus full time on the recovery of Countrywide, of which he is executive chairman.
Long, who has been Royal Mail’s chairman for the past three years, was asked to take the top job at Countrywide nine months ago following the issuing of two profit warnings by the agency group in three months, and then the resignation of former chief executive Alison Platt.
Long has been under widespread criticism for holding two senior roles in organisations, both undergoing controversial and substantial change.
In the summer, his senior management colleague at Countrywide - group managing director Paul Creffield - defended Long holding the Royal Mail position, telling Estate Agent Today that this allowed Long to maintain valuable connections in the wider business landscape and the City of London, which were of benefit to Countrywide.
However, this morning Long said: “It is with a heavy heart that I step down from the Royal Mail board. Over my three years as Chairman, I have taken great pride in what has been achieved by the group. It is a company with an incredible heritage. Operating in a challenging environment, it is positioning itself well for diversified growth under the leadership of [chief executive] Rico Back and his executive team.”
In recent weeks Long has faced shareholder revolts at both Countrywide and Royal Mail.
Royal Mail shareholders rejected a pay package for senior executives in July, while at Countrywide last month Long and other senior managers abandoned plans to revamp its incentive package for directors after meeting top investors.