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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Countrywide share price still in the doldrums despite Peter Long move

Shareholders in the ailing Countrywide agency group appeared to remain largely indifferent to the news that their executive chairman Peter Long was to devote himself full time to the job of turning around the company.

The share price closed yesterday almost unchanged at 10.98p.

In the last year the company stock has lost around 91 per cent of its value; its market capitalisation is now around £185m.

Yesterday’s price movement followed the announcement that Long - who combined his previously part-time role at Countrywide with being chairman of Royal Mail - was giving up the latter to concentrate on the former.

In addition to Long’s own statement about the decision - which we reported here yesterday - Royal Mail’s statement about the move stressed that, having just overseen an emergency £140m fundraising, Long's commitment to Countrywide will "remain in place for the foreseeable future".

The company added: "On that basis, Peter has reviewed his board appointments and concluded it is no longer possible to remain executive chairman of Countrywide and non-executive chairman of Royal Mail.”

It has been reported that long was paid £300,000 a year as chairman of Royal Mail and £360,000 as executive chairman of Countrywide, and picked up another £167,000 as deputy chairman of the supervisory board at travel company Tui.

At the start of the summer, Longon relinquished yet another role, which was chairman of Spanish theme park operator Parques Reunidos.

Long was at the centre of a shareholder revolt at Royal Mail, which some observers say was key in his departure; in addition he would have been one of the major recipients of a now-abandoned remuneration package at Countrywide where he was to have received stock worth up to £6m, and managing director Paul Creffield was to have received up to £8m, and chief finance boss Himanshu Raja stock up to £7m.

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