The Executive Chairman of Countrywide Peter Long has stepped down from his £360,000-a-year role at Royal Mail as its non-executive Chairman with immediate effect.
Long has been criticised heavily in recent months for ‘overboarding’, the polite City term to describe executives who sign up to multiple non-exec roles to boost their income and standing.
Long’s decision to focus on Countrywide also reveals that the search to replace Alison Platt is either proving more difficult than initially thought or has been abandoned completely.
Investors across the City have increasingly become concerned that overboarding or ‘going plural’ as its also known (i.e. having more than one non-exec role) spreads the time and skills of executive board directors.
66-year-old Long became CEO of Countrywide in everything but name after Alison Platt left last year but until this July had non-exec roles at zoos and parks operator Parques Reunidos and Royal Mail, both of which he has now jettisoned.
He retains a role as Deputy Chairman of travel company TUI’s supervisory board, for which he is paid £187,000.
“Peter joined the Board in June 2015 and was appointed Chairman in September 2015,” a statement from Royal Mail says.
“This year, his commitments have increased substantially, as he moved from non-executive to executive chairman at Countrywide plc.
“That commitment will remain in place for the foreseeable future. On that basis, Peter has reviewed his Board appointments and concluded it is no longer possible for him to remain executive Chairman of Countrywide and non-executive Chairman of Royal Mail.”
Shares in Countrywide rallied by 10% to over 11p on the news, but have since returned to their previous price.