The hunt is on for a new boss of Countrywide according to news reports.
Sky News says the company has recruited professional headhunters to replace Paul Creffield, the chief executive, and will involve current executive chairman Peter Long standing down this autumn as well.
The expected departures of Long and Creffield follow a series of high profile controversies.
This year alone the firm has seen the high profile collapse of its proposed sale of its commercial arm, Lambert Smith Hampton, and the failure of merger talks with LSL Property Services which would have led to the creation of the UK’s largest agency group.
In March it was revealed that Bruce Marsh, who was to become Countrywide's chief operating officer, was not going to join the agency group after all.
In 2019 two of the company’s biggest crises involved compliance.
It received a £100,000 fine by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors for two breaches of RICS guidelines regarding the handling of unclaimed clients’ funds by its lettings division.
It was also fined £215,000 by HM Revenue & Customs as part of a swoop cracking down on money laundering in the property sector.
Almost two years ago Countrywide hit the headlines when a proposed bonus bundle would have given Long stock worth well over £6m under a company scheme called Absolute Growth Plan. Creffield would have received shares valued at more than £8m.
These and other mishaps prompted an investment manager who has a 7.8 per cent stake in Countrywide, to warn earlier this month that the agency may not survive in its current form.
Jeremy Hosking, who co-founded an investment portfolio management service and has a personal fortune estimated at £385m, told Countrywide that it should gift 15 per cent of the company’s shares to staff - roughly the equivalent of £600 each - to give them a stake in its future and confidence they would share in any performance improvement.
In response to the news that a successor was being sought to Peter Long, Countrywide's founder - veteran agent Harry Hill - commented on Property Industry Eye: "I don’t know Mr Long. What I do know is that he has been obscenely well paid to oversee the almost total destruction of a once great business and together with the other members of the board, should hang his head in shame. Good luck to his successor as I fear that the downward spiral is incapable of being arrested."