Wednesday 7 July 2021 7:45 am

Foxtons’ chair steps down in wake of ‘impaired’ trading performance

Chairman Ian Barlow has announced his intention to step down from Foxtons’ board later this year, after the estate agent’s share price plummeted during the Covid pandemic.  

Barlow will step down no later than 31 December 2021 after nearly nine years on the board.

Foxtons has had a tough year fending off criticism from displeased shareholders.

In April nearly 40 per cent of shareholders voted against executive pay packages, following the estate agent’s decision to award CEO Nic Budden almost £1m in bonuses for the year.

Shareholders’ concern centred on the group paying out bonuses to executives despite a sharp a fall in its share price, from 94p before the pandemic to about 59p now, and after it took some £7m in government Covid support.

Then, Foxtons’ biggest investor Hosking Partners, which owns 11.2 per cent of the estate agency, called for “board-level change” after being unimpressed by pay at the business and the falling share price.

Barlow said: “It has been a privilege to have served on the board and more recently as chairman for the past eight years. Foxtons is an excellent company with a strong brand, great people, leading industry technology and deep branch coverage across London.

“A series of challenges to the London property market since the Brexit referendum, compounded more recently by the pandemic, have impaired our recent trading performance. However, the business has huge potential and I am confident that the refreshed growth strategy, agreed by the board last year and set out in the Capital Markets Day presentation in June, will result in a substantial rebound in performance.”

Barlow added that adjusted operating profit at the business was expected to be “significantly” ahead of both 2020 and 2019 levels.