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Exclusive: “There’s no crisis at Propertymark” says new CEO

Nathan Emerson, the new chief executive of Propertymark, says his mission is to make the organisation more transparent - and to debunk myths about what’s going on.

His elevation to the leadership earlier this month came after high profile departures at the top of the organisation over the past year. The most recent was the resignation of the permanent chief executive, Tim Balcon, after little more than four months.

Emerson is quick to dismiss speculation that such departures add up to a crisis, nor indicate anything sinister because they have not been explained in the round.

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“Look at the industry as a whole - a 15 per cent turnover is pretty normal. We [at Propertymark] are far below that, so people do focus on the names that change. There’s nothing sinister, this is an evolving company” he says.

“Actually things are not as people would often interpret … We have in every organisation a condition of change. What Propertymark hasn’t done is explain enough about the things it is doing to evolve” according to Emerson, in an interview with Estate Agent Today editor Graham Norwood. 

“We have a very strong headline brand and sometimes that strength of brand acts as a shield to what you’re actually doing and evolving. We need to communicate that wider, and be more pro-active.”

However, the new head figure recognises there is PR work to be done with the membership, saying: “I am keen to engage more and I am keen to drive more transparency out there, to allay everybody’s fears."  

Emerson, a former senior director with a 25-year track record at respected regional agency Pygott & Crone, has been on the Propertymark board since 2017 and has been a popular choice for interim chief executive. 

But is that post just for a short time, or might it be permanent?

“I stepped into the role as interim and that’s exactly what it means. [The organisation] needs some stability, it needs some reputational work doing to it, and also people do need to see results” he says. 

Emerson’s work as a property consultant has seen him prepare organisations for ‘the next stage’ and that’s exactly what he sees himself doing as chief executive at Propertymark, for however long that's required. 

“The reason I want to keep that focus short term is that if you don’t have it, things drift …  and one thing I’d like the organisation to be seen as, and shown as, is more responsive than some people would believe it is.”

The full interview covers more about Propertymark and its recent challenges, discusses whether it’s fit to act as an industry body in a more regulated agency landscape, and issues such as agency consolidation and increasing use of PropTech - a particular interest of the interim CEO.

The video interview will be on Estate Agent Today on Saturday.

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    "Emerson is quick to dismiss speculation that such departures add up to a crisis, nor indicate anything sinister because they have not been explained in the round." - what would he call it then!!!

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    Maybe people were happy in their role, maybe their weren't a good fit, maybe they got offered a better job, maybe they weren't good enough for their roles and were found out? Who knows eh ;-)

     
    Algarve  Investor

    Perhaps. But so many senior people leaving their roles in such a short space of time usually smacks of something more sinister. It's dishonest to day otherwise. Particularly as it seems pretty certain that PM have used NDAs to hush up those who have left. Why do that if everything is fine and dandy?

     
  • Andrew Stanton CEO Proptech-PR    Proptech Real Estate Influencer

    We have now all entered the 'twilight zone' some more than others. A CEO leaves, no reason given, a new CEO is in harness with zero real estate credentials two months later, and resigns five months later with no explanation. That alone would raise questions of competency, add in all of the departures and the lack of transparency of the last year and you have a sinking ship. In many ways it has a similar feel to Countrywide Plc, people in ivory towers believing they had a relevant business, and those they represented were 100% behind them, in reality they had become a Dinosaur. 2030 agency needs people who can fly spacecrafts, to keep up with the tech and pace of agency, not old stale pale men - getting nostalgic about a bygone age. And I speak as an old stale pale male, but I did something about it, got off my backside and engaged over the past five years with over 300 founders of proptech companies, over 100 real estate owners and hundreds of stakeholders, in the UK and globally, that takes time and effort, not words. My best advice to Propertymark, stop pontificating and start talking at volume to ALL of your members - you will find it good for the soul, and you might consider dropping RoPA as your central plank, and instead look to nourish and train those fee paying members.

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    Not a crisis, just merely a shambles!

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    Merely an irrelevance

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    Of course that’s what the puppet was going to say, what else could he say, different puppet, same strings, how long before the next confirmed permanent interim!

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    Are you a member of Propertymark Steve - and separately, what would you do differently in the CEO role to change PropertyMark for the better?

     
  • Algarve  Investor

    Propertymark seems a bit like Rightmove - many of its member agents seem to hate it, but remain with it regardless. Bizarre.

    Agree that the comments about there not being a crisis are wide of the mark. That number of senior figures leaving in such a short space of time can only mean something is very wrong.

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    Assuming is a form of giving away your power to another regarding an outcome that concerns you .. so tell me Algarve Investor - what is needed at Propertymark to make it better?

     
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    Ask your vendors if they have ever heard of PM
    It is a total irrelevance

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    • N W
    • 25 March 2021 13:22 PM

    alas as a member of 34 years i think it has become that way over the past 5/10 years.... maybe longer

     
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    The new CEO wants to engage more with the membership. AFAIK that's what the previous CEOs have all said. PBK was easily the best at doing that, so I hope Nathan is true to his word. There is still however a crisis that nobody seems to want to acknowledge and even less, share it with anybody. PM is very protective of its image and closes ranks when the sh*t hits the air conditioning. It has always been thus.

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