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Purplebricks apologises for expanding too quickly as founder Michael Bruce quits

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  • 07/05/2019
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Purplebricks apologises for expanding too quickly as founder Michael Bruce quits
Purplebricks founder Michael Bruce has stepped down as chief executive officer (CEO) after a disappointing 12 months for the group which saw it expand too aggressively.

 

Bruce has been replaced by Vic Darvey who was previously the group’s chief operating officer.

Purplebricks is pulling out of Australia, due to what it called “challenging market conditions” and “some execution errors”, and is putting its US operations under review.

Non-executive chairman Paul Pindar said: “With hindsight, our rate of geographic expansion was too rapid.”

He added: “We are very conscious that the group’s performance has been disappointing over the last 12 months and we sincerely apologise to shareholders for that. With hindsight, our rate of geographic expansion was too rapid and as a result the quality of execution has suffered.

“We have also made sub-optimal decisions in allocating capital. We will learn from these errors and will not make them again.”

As news of Bruce’s exit broke, shares in the online estate agent dropped by more than eight per cent in early trading, however they rebounded slightly to just a six per cent drop by lunchtime.

 

Next phase

Darvey joined Purplebricks in January 2019 after working as managing director of Moneysupermarket.com.

Pindar praised Bruce for his “truly remarkable contribution” to Purplebricks and said of Darvey:

“The board is delighted to have an executive of Vic Darvey’s calibre to take on the leadership of our business for its next important phase of development. We have a lot to do and Vic has a clear vision of the priorities we need to address.

Darvey said: “Going forward, we have a very clear understanding of the levers available to us to achieve growth. We have two outstanding businesses in the UK and Canada, both of which enjoy market-leading positions.

“We have also made significant progress in the US building a disruptive brand in the real estate market and our proposed strategic review will allow us to determine how we deliver the next phase of growth in a more effective and cost-efficient way.”

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