Two leading estate agents have criticised the Rightmove decision to hold its AGM behind closed doors today, which will see just two shareholders allowed to attend in person.
Rightmove says the measures are to protect the health and safety of the company’s employees and shareholders, and will see the company’s chairman Andrew Fisher call a poll on each of the resolutions, enabling all shareholder votes submitted before the meeting to be included in the results.
“Regrettably, we cannot admit any other shareholders to our offices to attend the AGM in person,” the company says.
But David Thomas and Rob Sargent, who are both involved in the ongoing campaign to force Rightmove to lower it fees and treat agents more fairly, claim Rightmove’s decision to exclude shareholders in person from its AGM is to stop difficult questions from the floor about the ongoing revolt among at least 3,000 branches, and its initial decision to offer a fee deferral scheme.
“I find it strange that a tech company like Rightmove which has been producing plenty of live webinars for its agents and the public even before the pandemic, would decide to hold its AGM behind closed doors and exclude the majority of its shareholders like this,” says David Thomas, boss of Nottingham estate agency Liberty Gate.
“Surely they could allow shareholders access virtually via a zoom meeting or a similar tech platform?”.
Rob Sargent, MD of the Acorn Group, adds: “Given there is so much turmoil between Rightmove and its customer base, you’d think they’d at least try to engage with shareholders a bit more, particularly when there’s tech out there that could enable that.
“It does feel as if they are trying to batten down the hatches and hide from the story that’s unravelling among their increasingly disenfranchised and disenchanted agent customers.”