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Purplebricks shareholder doesn’t rule out EGM on chairman position 

Estate Agent Today has been told that Lecram Holdings – the investment vehicle of Adam Smith which last week increased its stake in Purplebricks to 5%, the point at which it can hold a general meeting – remains committed to bringing about a change of chairman at the flagging brand. 

Responding to a query from EAT about if and when it plans to call an emergency general meeting regarding its concerns about the company’s chairman, Paul Pindar, a spokesperson for the shareholder merely said it was still eager to see this position change. 

This could increase the likelihood of a general meeting being called sooner rather than later, at which the role of Pindar could come under serious scrutiny. 


In recent months, both Lecram and Pindar and his family have been increasing their shares in the company to get above the 5% mark, as Lecram has tried to heap pressure on the current chairman. 

It’s no secret that Adam Smith, the director of Lecram, wants Pindar out. In July this year, Smith wrote a letter to Pindar urging him to resign as the company’s share price continued to collapse. He said action was required to ‘restore the credibility of the company with investors’. 

The letter called for Pindar to be replaced by someone with the ‘necessary experience and skills to address urgently the company’s continuing cash burn and operating performance within the residential estate agency sector’.

Lecram and its advisers Harris Capital made this call again after the release in early August of the company’s full-year results, which showed revenues and profits down significantly and which CEO Helena Marston labelled - with hefty understatement - as ‘not good enough’. 

As we wrote on EAT yesterday, the company’s other significant shareholders have kept their powder dry so far, with no public pronouncements on the performance of the company or Pindar himself. 

At last month’s AGM, all resolutions – including the appointment of shareholders and pay – were passed, but the position of chairman was not put to a vote. 

For his own part, Pindar has resisted the temptation to enter into a war of words or make any public defence of his performance as chairman. 

The board was strengthened last month when industry veterans Adrian Gill and Gareth Helm were appointed as non-executive directors, to try and help Purplebricks turn its fortunes around.

Meanwhile, in July, the company’s biggest backer – German media giant Axel Springer – replaced its representative on the board, with Ait Voncke stepping in for Dr Stephanie Caspar. 

Other members of the board include Marston, CFO Steve Long, senior independent director Simon Downing and Elona Mortimer-Zhika, the CEO at IRIS Software Group. 

But with Adam Smith the only major figure to publicly show his hand, it’s pure guesswork to try and know what the other board members and major shareholders currently think and what action they could take if an EGM was called. 

Who is Paul Pindar?

An early investor into Purplebricks, Pindar took on the role of the Group's non-executive chairman in December 2015. He and his wife Sharon Pindar hold a 5.42% share in the company, making them the fifth most significant shareholder.

Before standing down from Capita plc in 2014, Pindar was the third longest serving FTSE 100 CEO. He joined as Finance Director in 1987, became Managing Director in 1991 and Chief Executive in 1999. 

He is also Non-Executive Chairman of Literacy Capital plc and Chairman of Bookmark Reading Charity’s Corporate Partnership Board. The Swansea University-educated businessman was also chairman of Eve Sleep before stepping down last year after five years in the role.


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