Purplebricks has revealed that its recently-appointed CEO in the UK Lee Wainright has been given stock options worth £415,000 through the company’s employee share option scheme.
Lee (pictured, below) has been given 100,000 shares in Purplebricks at an exercise price – i.e. the fixed sale value of each share – of £4.15p, although how long he will have to wait to cash them in is not made clear.
Purplebricks is tight lipped about why Lee has been granted the stock options now, but risky start-up companies such as Purplebricks often use share options to make up for the higher salaries that senior executives might earn if they were working for longer-established, more profitable organisations.
That, in Lee’s case, was Countrywide where he was Managing Director of Bairstow Eves and Mann London before joining Purplebricks 12 months ago, where he initially held the title of UK Operations Director.
It is also likely that he has been given these golden handcuffs to soften the blow of what is a bone-rattling role.
Only a few weeks after being appointed UK CEO, Lee endured a painful grilling when he appeared on a BBC Radio 5Live show that investigated some of its marketing practices.
The radio show appearance came only a few days after a highly critical investment research document published by Jefferies LLP made shocking claims about how many homes it believed the hybrid agency really sells. The company’s share price then nosedived by 15% from £4.89p, a price it has yet to regain.
Lee’s options were granted on the same day that just over a million share options were ‘exercised’ or in effect cashed-in by a group of unnamed employees of Purplebricks, worth collectively approximately £4.4 million.