Countrywide's chief executive resigns after profit warning

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Alison Platt has resigned as the chief executive of UK’s largest estate agent Countrywide after it issued its second profit warning in three months.

The board has asked Peter Long to become executive chairman until a successor is appointed. Paul Creffield, previously managing director of commercial development, becomes group operations director.

On Thursday, the firm had said that a “disappointing” end to 2017 would leave annual earnings slumping to £65m against £83.5m the previous year. The news sent its shares tumbling to the lowest on record this Monday.

Long told media:”In Countrywide we have a strong and successful business in financial services, B2B and commercial led by an experienced and committed management team.”

“Within our core sales and lettings area, however, we have lost focus and a key priority will be to implement changes that will enable this area to start delivering once again. Working together with this experienced executive team I feel confident we can return the business to profitable growth.”

Commenting on her departure, Platt said: “Since joining in 2014 I have worked hard, within a difficult market, to structure a fragmented business into one set for success. I believe those actions will serve Countrywide well in the future. However, the time is now right for me to step aside. I look forward to seeing the business build back and return to growth.”

The company, behind high street chains including Hamptons and Taylors, said Platt would be paid a full year’s pay of £675,000 in lieu of a 12-month notice period.

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