Paul Creffield, a veteran figure at Countrywide involved in a controversy over bonuses, is staying on to “support” the transition into new ownership at Connells.
In 2018 Creffield - then group managing director at Countrywide - was reported by Sky News to be in line for an £8m bonus windfall under a scheme devised by then executive chairman, Peter Long.
Long’s bonus would have been around £6m and another senior management figure - then chief financial officer Himanshu Raja - would have received some £7m.
The bonus windfalls were part of what the trio called Countrywide’s Absolute Growth Plan: however, a shareholder revolt put paid to the scheme, which was known amongst agents in branches as 'Countrywide Fat Cats’.
Countrywide formally abandoned the package after widespread criticism of it happening during the company’s Back To Basics programme attempting to attract staff back to the company.
Now Creffield has been personally named in a statement from Connells, marking the formal completion of its acquisition of Countrywide.
A statement from Connells says: “Paul Creffield will be moving to a part time role to support during this transitional period, ahead of his planned retirement.”
The statement also says that the acquisition provides “long term financial stability for Countrywide, freeing it from external debt, and bringing years of uncertainty to a close.”
Countrywide’s large number of brands will continue to operate under their existing names, and the overall Countrywide/Connells branch network will remain in place “with Connells Group delivering investment into technology and people to improve its service offerings.”
The surveying and asset management businesses will continue to trade and operate as separate entities “to provide choice and competition in these sectors.”
Connells Group chief executive David Livesey - who will lead the combined organisation - says: “This is an extraordinary day in the proud history of both companies, bringing together a formidable team of property professionals to create the most successful business seen in our sector.”
He adds: “We look forward to welcoming all our new colleagues into Connells Group, working together on our exciting future and turning Countrywide around for our shared success.”