Purplebricks ‘horror show’ as compliance chief quits

City analyst David Reynolds says there are again serious questions about the leadership team at Purplebricks.

helen purplebricks

A City analyst has described the departure of Purplebricks’ compliance chief as the ‘latest chapter in a horror show’.

Purplebricks’ new director of compliance Helen Martin (main pic) decided to leave the company suddenly last week after just five months, without any explanation of the reason for her departure.

She was appointed to the role in late August, joining Purplebricks from LSL Property Services where she was risk and governance director for the company’s estate agency division.

She was reporting directly to new Purplebricks CFO Dominique Highfield, and was responsible for oversight of risk management and compliance. She has now returned to LSL as a ‘risk consultant’.

David Reynolds, Equity Analyst, Davy Research

“It is the continuation of a horror show,” says David Reynolds, an equity analyst at Davy Research

“Purplebricks has been brutally exposed for such a long time. Both the CEO and CFO are relatively new in their roles.

“It has happened with such a frequency, you have to ask about the efficacy of the leadership team,” he adds.

Previous CFO Steve Long was replaced in November after just a year in post.

“Exciting opportunity”

Highfield says: “Helen has played an important role alongside our risk, legal and finance teams as we build a new, more robust compliance infrastructure and culture.

“Having supported the transition to Lifetime Legal for customer due diligence checks Helen has decided the time is now right to pursue other opportunities. She leaves with our best wishes.”

Martin said when she was appointed: “This is an exciting opportunity to join the best-known brand in the industry and to be part of an ambitious team who have made it clear to me that they recognise the importance of an effective risk management framework and compliance culture.”

helena marston
Helena Marston, CEO, Purplebricks

Helena Marston, CEO, said at the time of the appointment: “This newly created role is an essential part of our plans to continue to raise standards and ensure the highest levels of risk management”.

“This boat is holed beneath the water line and will sink.”

Russell Quirk, ex-estate agent and PR man, reacts to the developments at Purplebricks: “We were led to believe that Helen Martin boarding the Purplebricks ship would steer it in the right direction from a regulatory point of view, pretty important when you’re a publicly listed company.

“Yet the fact that she has reached for the life-rafts so soon rather indicates that this boat is holed beneath the water line and will sink.”


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