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Former Purplebricks CEO spells out challenges for UK estate agency

Lee Wainwright, who led Purplebricks in the UK for 15 months but now works for industry supplier FocalAgent, spells out how he sees the industry's future.

Nigel Lewis

lee wainwright purplebricks

Former UK Purplebricks CEO Lee Wainwright has revealed that he backs the government’s attempts to regulate the industry and that technology will disrupt the industry however much some agents pretend it isn’t happening.

These comments were made by the 46-year-old just months after he left Purplebricks after leading the company for 15 months and, prior to that, being its Chief Operating Officer.

Recorded then but only released now, Wainwright made the remarks prior to his appointment as CEO of floorplan and photography supplier FocalAgent, which was created two years ago when AudioAgent and KeyAGENT merged.

“The overall challenge that our industry faces at the moment is in this transition from one of being quite comfortable with how we do business to feeling disrupted by the online presence,” he says.

Winds of change

Wainwright says that estate agents must wake up to the facts that technology is changing how so many other industries and companies do business, and estate agency is facing the same winds of change.

During the interview with Chris Watkins, Wainwright also denies that high street agents are resting on their laurels because so many online agents have faltered over the past two years.

“That is being said by some, but they are a minority,” he says, going on to suggest that technology instead needs to be used by agents to better present their service and products to consumers and better understand the customer journey.

Prior to joining Purplebricks, Wainwright worked on the high street for 27 years including senior management roles both at regional and brand level at Countrywide including at two off its brands, Bairstow Eves and Dixons.

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February 11, 2020

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