Zoopla co-founder Alex Chesterman has stepped down from his position as CEO of parent company ZPG following its purchase by US equity firm Silver Lake Partners in July.
Unusually for such a large company, no successor has been named yet.
Chesterman will no longer be involved in the day-to-day running of the company from the end of September but will remain a board member, shareholder and advisor.
The serial entrepreneur no longer needs his CEO’s salary. In 2014 he made £27.5 million following ZPG’s stockmarket flotation and later sold shares worth £25 million. He holds additional share options in ZPG worth £63 million.
Chesterman’s departure from the helm of his £300m turnover company has been expected within the industry since Silverlake hoovered it up for £2.2 billion.
This was the end-game of Chesterman’s ZPG journey, which kicked off in 2007 when, armed with several million pounds he had earned from the sale of DVD movie business Love Film, he set out to create a No.2 in the portal market.
His strategy was a simple one – establish a new portal brand but then buy up all the small and large competitors to Rightmove to gain market share.
This included Think Property and Propertyfinder as well as, five years ago, his break-through deal with the Daily Mail General Trust to acquire its portals PrimeLocation and FindaProperty.
It was also Chesterman’s idea to turn Zoopla into a horizontally integrated group of companies each involved in the purchase, letting or management of a home and the running of estate agency businesses.
He also ran ZPG in a relatively unusual way during the early days via a flat management structure which enabled the company to move quickly.
Chesterman’s increasing level of angel investment in dozens of start-ups including Fuel, Carwow and Secret Escapes recently has pointed to his imminent departure, as has his purchase of a second holiday home on the Palm Beach seafront in Florida next to his existing one.
“After ten years of developing and growing ZPG into a multi-billion pound market-leading business, now is the right time for me to step down as CEO,” he says.
“I am incredibly proud of what the team has achieved, having transformed the markets we operate in for both our consumers and partners.”