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Foxtons: 'Why we replaced our chief executive'

Foxtons interim chief executive Peter Rollings has said “change was needed” to boost the London brand after Guy Gittins was appointed to replace Nic Budden.

Peter Rollings, non-executive director for Foxtons, who is standing in as chief executive until Gittins takes over in September, has revealed the reasoning behind the unexpected departure of Budden in May.

He said Budden's departure was amicable.


Rollings, who was managing director of Foxtons between 1997 and 2005, told Estate Agent Today:  “We saw what was happening with the numbers.

“Nic was a great guy.

“Agency isn’t a difficult business but there are nuances on how it works.

“Any company that doesn’t have an agent on the board is missing a trick, I know what’s going on, it wasn’t working properly.

“It needed a change, I worked with Guy here and I know what an operator he is, to bring him back with that external experience is a great thing.”

He said he has used his time as interim chief executive to visit branches and formulate ideas to improve the business, which includes plans to hire 10% to 15% more negotiators.

Rollings said: “I have been round most the offices and got my head around the business to set a few things for Guy to accelerate.

“He is 20 years younger then me so will have the get up to do it.”

“We have more stock but not enough negotiators to sell it.

“It will be a self-fulfilling prophecy as we get more stocks and more negotiators, things will get better.”

Asked if he was concerned about a potential property market downturn, Rollings said: “When I came back to Foxtons I was delighted to see that many of the people I employed 16 years ago are still here in senior roles.

“The experience we have at senior levels is remarkable, we are well set to benefit from a tougher market.

“In an easy market, as the saying goes, even turkeys can fly in a hurricane, that is not true when things get tougher.

“We have fantastic senior branch managers in the trenches.”

It comes as Foxtons posted its half-year results yesterday, revealing 20% revenue growth in lettings but a 17% decline in sales and financial services – albeit compared with last year’s stamp duty holiday rush.

Its adjusted operating profit was £6.2m, up 13%, while pre-tax profit was up 21% to £4.3m.

The update showed it has £11.6m of net cash and Rollings confirmed that the agent was still in the market for acquisitions with a decent lettings portfolio.


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