OnTheMarket plc, operator of the OnTheMarket.com property portal, has this morning announced that it has given notice of termination of employment to Ian Springett, Chief Executive Officer, with immediate effect.
The Board has appointed Clive Beattie, Chief Financial Officer, as Acting Chief Executive Officer. Korn Ferry, a leading executive search consultancy, has been appointed to conduct the formal recruitment process for a permanent replacement.
The shock announcement came as the portal published a positive trading update.
Based on unaudited results for the year ended 31 January 2020, revenues were slightly above the £18.0m to £18.5m guidance provided in September 2019 and the Company expects to report better than anticipated adjusted EBITDA performance. At 31 January 2020 the Company had net cash of £8.7m.
Christopher Bell, Chairman of OnTheMarket, said: “On behalf of the Board and all our colleagues I would like to thank Ian for his hard work and commitment over many years. He has played a major part in helping establish OnTheMarket.com as one of the UK’s leading residential property portals and we wish him every success in the future.
“Our commitment to building a strong, agent-backed, profitable and technology-enabled business remains undiminished. However, to continue our progress toward this objective and take OTM forward through the next phase of its corporate development, the Board believes now is the right time to appoint a new Chief Executive.
“The Board remains very confident in the prospects of OTM and its potential in capitalising upon its substantial growth opportunities. We have built a talented team and we will continue to ensure that we provide innovative, affordable and valuable solutions to meet our customers’ changing needs.”
OnTheMarket was created by Agents’ Mutual, a group of estate agents who wanted to create an online property portal to challenge the dominance of Zoopla and Rightmove, It was launched in January 2015 with its key strength being that is was to be solely owned by the agents that list on the website. The target was to attract businesses frustrated by the rising costs of listing with the main two portals, with profits reinvested back into the business, the group said.
“OnTheMarket has the appeal to attract the full spectrum of consumers and it has the gravitas to distinguish our brand as the natural home of locally visible, full service independent estate and lettings agencies,” said Ian Springett, Agents’ Mutual’s Chief Executive at the time.
No comment was available from Mr Springett.