Former Countrywide lettings boss John Hards has revealed his thoughts on the future of the Countrywide brands following the company’s expected acquisition by LSL, and hinted that he doesn’t expect a significant headcount reduction.
“I say to any Countrywide staff who might be nervous about their future at the company following a deal – if you’re good at what you do then LSL will want to keep you,” he says.
Now working as a consultant and speaking at his Cornish home, Hards says he endorses the takeover of Countrywide by LSL but admits it will be hard to achieve, although he wishes he was still there to be part of the ‘fun as well as the hard work’.
He also expects that LSL will, after a review, keep all the Countrywide brands, arguing that the company has got rid of brands in the past, but that it ‘did not help the business’.
Hards also says that, although the Platt years saw many middle managers leave as her ‘retail’ approach blew in, it has allowed a fresh batch of new faces to rapidly gain experience and take on wider responsibilities.
“I think these Countrywide people could teach the LSL team a thing or two,” he says.
Hards also says that Countrywide MD Paul Creffield should keep a senior role within the new set up, assuming the acquisition goes ahead.
“His experience is unquestionable, as is his knowledge of the business,” he says. “But who else makes it on to the board of the two merged companies will be the contentious bit.”
Hards left Countrywide in 2017 after a 35 year career at the firm but returned in 2018 to steer the company through the tenant fees ban.