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Purplebricks chief executive quits because of “personal circumstances”

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."

  • Carl Smales

    Well she sounds like some of their ‘Local Experts!’

    Surely the share price can’t get any lower.


    As Jasper Carrot once said, “if they go much lower they’ll drop off the coupon”

  • Mark Walmsley

    What successes have this company had?People aside (and some of my fellow LPEs & TO’s were lovely) they left myself and my family (and 100’s more like us) in corporate debt when they changed their model.

    As a ltd company I had to sack my wife (a previous agent who assisted my sales progression and admin) and I had a bounce back loan with NO income to pay fo

    My income was cut by 60/70% on average. I am dealing with the fallout and wonder if any other self employed Purple Bricks agents out there found a solution to this with BBL’s and the like?


    I don't mean to sound callous, but you did it to yourself. You willingly joined a business who buy market share by being the cheap option, and spending millions on marketing to let everyone know it. You relied on THAT strategy as your sole means of income. What did you think was going to happen?

  • Chris Arnold

    Instead of trying to fix what's broken, replace what's not working with something different. Disappointing to hear that a "clear plan" remains in place. PurpleBricks don't appreciate the ONE business asset they have left.


    They don't have any assets. The only thing worth ANYTHING in business is customer equity... the relationship between the business and it's customer, and the marketing that drives the customer equity. In that department PB have brand recognition, however, what that brand is associated with (being the cheap option) is long term worthless anyway. They have nothing.

  • Algarve  Investor

    "with chief operating officer Helena Marston - who has no estate agency experience outside of Purplebricks - taking over from April 4."

    A poisoned chalice if ever there was one.

  • icon

    A great original network business model that was distorted and soon be to destroyed by journeyman execs trying to squeeze it into a national corporate estate agency structure. Think that just about covers it.


    Business models are irrelevent without a profitable USP and profitable revenue streams. Saying they had a great original network business model is like saying that a car without an engine would be a great car if it had one. You don't start and grow a business based on what you think is a good business model, you start and grow it based on marketplace demand and then develop the model.

  • icon
    • 10 March 2022 10:00 AM

    Good riddance Vic Darvey - Another Chief Executive having been appointed to a business in an industry he knew absolutely nothing about, trashes it and moves on. As for Helena Marstons oversight and implementation of the transition of LPE's and T/o's to fully employed - It was a complete and utter shambles. Its been clear now for sometime that Purplebricks is going the same way as Countrywide and for many of the same reasons.


    That's how these supposedly 'successful' people make a living. It amazes me how few people realise that the vast majority of these 'disruptors' are destined for failure from the moment they're conceived, and that the people attached to them probably know it. I'm astounded how people don't see the same hype trick being played over and over again, selling snake oil to investors, the public and their employees.

  • icon

    Can the last one out please turn off the light

    • N W
    • 10 March 2022 10:02 AM

    particularly with the present cost of energy!

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    • N W
    • 10 March 2022 10:15 AM

    As long as fools with money to burn keep ploughing in money to this lost cause then it will keep on going (plenty of fools out there as the Bruce Brothers took the cash and ran just in time)

    Hopefully it will die a death soon for the failed model that it is. Yes it was a disruptor, but only because it was supported by people with little idea of the property market and the actual costs for running a professional operation. (give me a few hundred million and I can disrupt anything....... but it doesn't mean its for the good or for a long term solution once the money runs out)

    Hopefully it wont be the last to die a death on the alter of mediocrity

  • Glenn Taylor

    Stupid name anyway

  • Samantha Sullivan

    What a crock of rubbish. He's put the company into the ground and expects people to believe he's leaving to be with his family? Leave before being pushed more like. The shareholders must be hot blooded right now.
    Was there any explanation behind setting up the Limited company?

  • icon

    The obsession with PB continues

  • icon

    We can't forget their "commissery" damaging marketing to our industry.

  • Andrew Stanton PROPTECH-PR A Consultancy for Proptech Founders

    Will the business get bought by an estate agent?

    As Purplebricks online service will always serve the vendor who wants to pay a low fee, about 6% of the market. And that estate agent would be able to monetise the financial services, conveyancing and other income streams in a proper manner, and provide the post sstc service that is lacking in the present model, by plugging in the onliner to their existing operation. Though the cash upfront model, sale or no sale, is a bit of a sticking point.


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