Connells Group chief stands down after just six months

Sarah Whitney only became Connells chair in September, but has now left, and the news comes just days after LSL chair David Barral departed.

Sarah Whitney, Connells Group

Connells Group chair Sarah Whitney (main picture) has left the board suddenly without explanation less than six months after being appointed.

Whitney became the new Non-Executive Chair in September, replacing Mark Lund at the top of the group which owns Connells, Countrywide, Sequence and Hamptons among many other agency brands.

Lund has now returned to the role and taken over as Interim Chair, while Whitney remains a Non Executive Director of Skipton Building Society, which owns Connells.

Immediate effect

The news comes just days after competitor LSL’s chair David Barral left the role with immediate effect after less than a year.

Barral, who was the former chair of Aviva UK, replaced veteran Bill Shannon at LSL at a time last year when the company announced that its entire estate agency network of 183 branches would become franchises.

A former PwC partner, Whitney also held senior leadership roles at DTZ and CBRE and is an experienced non-executive director, having served on the boards of BBGI Global Infrastructure SA, Bellway plc, Tritax EuroBox plc, and JP Morgan Global Growth & Income plc.

Stepped down

A Connells Group spokesperson tells The Neg: “We can confirm that Sarah Whitney stepped down from her role as chair of Connells Limited (Connells), with effect from the end of February 2024, and that the recruitment process for a replacement chair is underway.

“During the transition period, Mark Lund, deputy chair of Skipton Group and the Society’s senior independent director, will resume his role as interim chair of Connells until the appointment is made.

“Connells’ board would like to thank Sarah for her contributions and wish her every success in the future.”

Whitney is also no longer listed as a director of Connells’ parent company Skipton.

Harder than expected

Connells announced last June that CEO David Livesey would be leaving this year, but said in September it was proving harder than expected to find a replacement.

And Finance Director Richard Twigg agreed to step up as Group Interim CEO.

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