Countrywide's chief executive Alison Platt has resigned after profit warning sent shares sliding

Rebecca Smith
Countrywide said more details on its strategy will be given in March
Countrywide said more details on its strategy will be given in March (Source: Getty)

Alison Platt has resigned as chief executive of estate agent Countrywide, and will stand down from the board, after a shares slump last week off the back of a profit warning.

The board has asked Peter Long to become executive chairman until a successor is appointed. Paul Creffield, previously managing director of commercial development, becomes group operations director. He will also take responsibility for the sales and lettings division.

Shares rose more than four per cent in early trading.

Read more: Why shares in the UK's biggest estate agent Countrywide are plummeting

Long said:

In Countrywide we have a strong and successful business in financial services, B2B and commercial led by an experienced and committed management team.

Within our core sales and lettings area, however, we have lost focus and a key priority will be to implement changes that will enable this area to start delivering once again. Working together with this experienced executive team I feel confident we can return the business to profitable growth.

In a statement the firm said it "acknowledges the commitment Alison has given to the group and wishes her well for the future".

Platt, who had been at the helm of Countrywide since 2014 and is a non-executive director at Tesco, said:

Since joining in 2014 I have worked hard, within a difficult market, to structure a fragmented business into one set for success. I believe those actions will serve Countrywide well in the future. However, the time is now right for me to step aside. I look forward to seeing the business build back and return to growth.

In an update last week, Countrywide revealed a disappointing performance in its sales and lettings arm.

The firm said profit will fall to £65m, down from £83.5m the year before, as it dealt with low transactions as well as slow sales.

It was the latest in a series of headaches for the firm, which owns brands including Hamptons, Taylors and Bairstow Eves. Last July, it reported a slump in profits, blaming uncertainty, after noting a high level of transactions brought forward in time due to stamp duty changes and the EU referendum.

Read more: Countryslide: Struggling estate agent Countrywide's income slips

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