Purplebricks has hired Neil Tavender, one of the property industry’s most high profile players who helped establish Rightmove during the noughties, as its Australian Chief Operating Officer and given him share options worth £1.435 million.
Industry insiders say Tavender has been hired to sort out its sales operation, which has been enduring a shaky few months as several disgruntled former employees have gone public over working conditions at the hybrid agency’s Australian operation.
And last month leading Oz trade body the Western Australian Institute publicly called out the hybrid agency, saying its local experts are motivated by listings, not selling properties, claims Purplebricks has denied.
The share deal, which is part of Tavender’s employee share option scheme, is based on 500,000 ordinary shares at an exercise price – i.e. the value at which he can sell them when the share option period expires – of Wednesday’s stock market value of £2.87.
Tavender gained his industry profile during the early noughties when he helped set up a new homes sales operation for Rightmove with the former Rightmove MD Nick McKittrick, later becoming the portal’s sales director.
He then joined rival Propertyfinder.com when it was a joint venture between News Corporation and Australian portal the REA Group.
After that he was hired by the Daily Mail as a consultant to scope out what became The Digital Property Group, and which later bought portals FindaProperty and PrimeLocation before being sold to Zoopla. After a stint at Connells and a brief investment in a Brighton estate agency Tavender moved to Australia to work for a newspaper group and then a recruitment company, settling in Brisbane, before joining Purplebricks.