Estate agent Countrywide appoints former Tui boss as chairman

 
Kasmira Jefford
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Countrywide is the UK's largest lettings and estate agency (Source: Getty)

Britain's largest estate agent Countrywide has appointed the former chief executive of travel operator Tui as chairman.

Peter Long, who was co-chief executive of Tui until last week, has joined the board as a non-executive director with immediate effect and will take up the role of chairman on 27 April following Countrywide's annual general meeting, the company announced today.

The leisure veteran, who was chief executive of First Choice Holidays until it merged with Tui in 2007, will stay on at the travel giant as a member of the supervisory board and is also chairman of the Royal Mail.

He will take over as chairman from Grenville Turner, who is retiring from Countrywide's board after 10 years with the company and seven as chief executive.

Turner has overseen the company during some its most turbulent periods after taking the company private at the height of the housing market collapse in 2007 with US buyout firm Apollo Global Management.

Distressed debt specialists Oaktree Capital together with Alchemy Partner then took control of the property firm in 2009 in a complex deal that saw them write-off three quarters of the debt and inject £75m cash.

He then led its return to the public markets in 2013 after a significant restructuring, in an IPO that raised proceeds of around £200m and valued the company at £750m.

Countrywide now owns over 50 high street brands including Blundells, Hamptons International and John D Wood and specialises in all services relating to residential property, with sales of £700m in the last financial year. In November, the group warned on profits after an anticipated recovery in house sales failed to materialise following May's election.

Chief executive, Alison Platt, said: "As chairman and previously as chief executive, Grenville has been unwavering in his stewardship of Countrywide."

Long, who has also held senior non-executive roles at Rentokill, RAC and Debenhams, said: “I am delighted to be joining the countrywide board as Chairman and am looking forward to working with Alison and her team. The group has a clear focus on its customers as it executes its strategy and generates long-term sustainable shareholder value.”

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