London agency Foxtons has announced some management changes - the first since a shareholder revolt at the firm’s annual general meeting in May.
After six years as chairman Garry Watts retires from the board before next May’s AGM; the company insists this is “in line with the board's succession plan.”
Ian Barlow, currently the company's senior independent director, will be the new chairman.
According to the company, Barlow’s elevation “follows an assessment of succession options led by an independent non-executive director and ensures continuity of leadership following a number of board changes made over the past three years.”
Patrick Franco, currently the chief operating officer, will join the board as an executive director on October 1 this year while Alan Giles, currently a non-executive director, will succeed Ian Barlow as senior independent director.
Garry Watts says: "Foxtons is an excellent Company with a great team, which it has been a pleasure to chair for the last six years. A series of challenges to the health of the London property market have impaired its recent trading performance but its balanced business model, strong net cash position and robust operating structure means that it is well placed to benefit from a recovery in sales volumes.”
It remains to be seen whether this and any other changes are sufficient to placate angry shareholders.
In May 13 of the 14 resolutions put to shareholders were passed with support of 94 per cent or above - but the annual statement regarding remuneration of senior management provoked a furious debate and passed with only 78.37 per cent of shareholders backing it.
Chief executive Nick Budden and chief finance officer Mark Berry were awarded £389,000 in bonuses for 2018, up from £371,000 the previous year; the AGM rebellion came just hours after Foxtons revealed that Berry was in fact quitting “by mutual agreement.”