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Purplebricks share price drops as former sales director joins high street rival

The hybrid agency's stock hit 98p a share yesterday as the brain drain of senior figures from its business continues apace.

Nigel Lewis

Purplebricks share price hit a five-month low yesterday dipping by nearly 13% overall during the day, finishing at £1 a share but dipping to 98p at one point.

Its stock has been rolling downhill over the past 20 months since it reached a peak of £3.80p in May last year.

The stock’s most recent twitch downwards coincided with an announcement on LinkedIn that the Spicer Haart group had persuaded one of its former executives, Paul Vickerstaff, to join as a divisional Managing Director.

Vickerstaff (above, middle) was Purplebricks’ UK Sales Director for four years before being tasked with helping to run its loss-making German counterpart Homeday which it took a 25% stake in a year ago for £11 million. After a brief period at the German firm Vickerstaff left Homeday left and now been snapped up by Spicerhaart.

“I had grown Purplebricks nationally, then helped the team in Germany with the Homeday investment. Michael and Kenny Bruce, who I’d worked closely with for many years, had moved on and I was looking for a new challenge,” he says.

“I’m very excited to be joining Spicerhaart to look at new opportunities in this ever-changing estate agency space.”

Vickerstaff has been brought in to head up one of Spicerhaart’s divisional chapters including a ‘partnership’ programme which, the company hopes, will utilise Vickerstaff’experience at Purplebricks to ‘cover every postcode in the UK’ not served by one of its high street brands.

“We are delighted with our ‘new signing’,” says Spicer Haart CEO Paul Smith (above, right). “It’s unusual to get such a high calibre individual in today’s market. His knowledge and enthusiasm for agency and the future our industry is taking is admirable. Paul will help us grow our business to cover every postcode in England and Wales.”

Spicerhaart has been working hard to fill senior positions in recent months including, as we reported several weeks ago, promoting Anthony Lark to Group Managing Director and Steve Williams to head of its Chapter division.

Vickerstaff’s departure from Purplebricks is also part of a wider brain drain of ‘originals’ from the hybrid agency, many of whom don’t like the corporate direction it is travelling in.
Recently these have included its Lettings Operations Director Howard Russell and recruitment boss Stephanie Walker.

December 5, 2019

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