Purplebricks chief executive Vic Darvey has quit, citing “personal circumstances”.
He leaves at the end of this month with chief operating officer Helena Marston - who has no estate agency experience outside of Purplebricks - taking over from April 4.
Investors hoping that this may herald a change of direction for the troubled agency may be disappointed - a statement this morning says: “Helena has worked closely with Vic on the strategy and new business model as well as implementing a number of the performance improvement initiatives.”
Vic Darvey’s official departure message to shareholders says: “It has been a privilege to lead this business over the last three years. While I am sorry to be leaving at this stage in the Company’s transformation, we have a great team in place and a clear plan which I have every confidence Helena will deliver. I wish everyone at Purplebricks a happy and successful future."
And incoming CEO Helena Marston says: “I am excited to be given the opportunity to lead Purplebricks in the next phase of our journey. We have a fantastic brand and a great opportunity to accelerate our growth, providing the best experience for customers. I would also like to extend my best wishes to Vic and wish him well for the future."
Darvey joined Purplebricks in 2019 and took over as CEO following the departure of Michael and Kenny Bruce. His time in office has been marked by a business model revamp, a threat of class action by disgruntled former local property experts, and a costly compliance problem in its lettings division.
Marston only joined Purplebricks in May 2020 as Chief People Officer and took over the role of Chief Operating Officer at the end of 2021.
She has no estate agency experience outside of Purplebricks, having held human resources roles at Virgin Media, Kuwait Energy, Jaguar Land Rover and Vodafone.
A statement this morning says that since joining Purplebricks she “has taken over responsibility for all aspects of Purplebricks’ people and operational strategy ensuring the Group has the optimum structure to deliver a high-performance culture, having designed and led the complex project to move all field agents to fully employed in 2021.”
And shareholders have also heard from Paul Pindar, chairman of Purplebricks: “I would like to thank Vic for his leadership, energy and commitment to Purplebricks.
“He has guided the business during a period of considerable change and challenge, including building a strengthened senior leadership team focused on our tech-led growth. We understand and respect his personal reasons for leaving and wish him the very best in the future.
"I am delighted to welcome Helena to the Board. Helena has shown impressive leadership since joining the Executive Leadership Team and been responsible for implementing a number of our strategic initiatives. I am confident she will drive the necessary performance improvements that are underway and deliver the growth ambitions of the Company."