December Movers and Shakers with PrimeResi

7 January 2019

Your monthly breakdown of key movements across the estate agency sector from PrimeResi. Links to all full stories are provided at the end of each summary.

Estate Agents


Emoov appointed administrators at the start of December, after failing to find a buyer. The news came just six months after Emoov merged with Tepilo and, prompting speculation of a £100m float in the AIM stock exchange. Peter Whalley and Tom Russell at James Cowper Kreston have been charged with handling the business’ next steps.


Currell, the East London property business run by husband and wife team Anne and Chris Currell, has been acquired by Savills. All Currell offices and teams join Savills with immediate effect, with the Islington branch moving across the road to join the existing Savills outpost. They will continue to trade for the next few months under the Currell brand, adding that the firm is now “part of the Savills group”, before being fully rebadged.


Savills has boosted its Mayfair & St James’s team with the hire of former Harrods Estates sales manager Nicholas Shaw. Shaw spent over seven years at Harrods, setting up and leading the Kensington operation, before making a move over to Knight Frank in Marylebone. His new Associate Director role at Savills will see him based out of the North Audley Street branch, focussing on the prime and super-prime markets of Mayfair, St James’s, Soho, Covent Garden and Hyde Park.


Savills has also opened a new office in Newcastle to service the North East market. The 11-strong operation on Grey Street is led by the ex-GVA trio of Neil Morton, Ray Minto and Roger Speirs, who joined Savills en masse in March; they are in charge of the planning, development and valuation teams respectively.


In November, Savills acquired Martel Maides Ltd, which pitches itself as “Guernsey’s most successful estate agent”, giving the global property firm its first residential presence on the island. The deal significantly boosts Savills’ footprint in the Channel Islands, giving it a “strong, multi-disciplinary” brand presence on both Jersey and Guernsey.

Knight Frank

Knight Frank has made four proprietary partner promotions across its resi and commercial divisions. James Clarke (Head of Core Market), Mark Evans (Head of Regional Residential Development and Investment), Gary Hall (Regional Partner, Residential Lettings) and Johnny Hawkins (Industrial Capital Markets) have all been invited to step up as of April 2019.

Knight Frank

Knight Frank has also expanded its Rural Team in the South West of England, recruiting one and shuffling two to offer a full suite of rural services including, sales, asset management and valuation across the region. Edward Clarkson is now Head of South West Rural Property Sales, based in Exeter, having moved over from The Buying Solution. John Williams has been recruited to the rural asset management team in Bristol; he previously worked at rural surveying firm David James & Partners. Hannah Rose, who has been at Knight Frank since 2012, has moved to become an Associate in the Valuation & Advisory Department in Exeter, specialising in farms, estates, equestrian and high value residential properties.

Carter Jonas

Carter Jonas has created a new head office role, Head of Residential Sales Operations, and recruited David Ruddock from Marsh & Parsons to fill it. He’s been given a remit to “analyse and build on the team’s current operational practices and, where necessary, introduce new strategies to strengthen and grow Carter Jonas’ market share in line with its long term growth strategy".

Carter Jonas

Other recent Carter Jonas recruits include Daniel Francis to run the firm's in-house research unit from GVA, where he was a Head of Research; Theo Tighe as a Business Development Manager from Northern Trust Wealth Management, and Charlotte Hutchison as an associate in the London planning team; she joined from consultancy Iceni Projects.


Winkworth has added a longstanding coastal agency in Dorset to its network of 100+ offices across the UK. Humphreys & Orr, which has been covering the Mudeford and Christchurch area for the last 25 years, has been acquired by existing Winkworth franchisee Simon Barnes. H&O’s management line-up of Gareth Bowden, Sue Billet and Sylvia Walker, remains unchanged.


In the Head Office, Winkworth has promoted Claudia Green to the newly created role of Head of Lettings. Green steps up from the Corporate Services team, which is being combined with the Client Services Department, headed up by Max White, to form a new Central Services Department; this will offer customer service support for both sales and lettings to Winkworth’s network, promising a “more seamless overall offering for franchisees”.

Mr & Mrs Clarke

Three-year-old boutique estate agency Mr & Mrs Clarke has launched a North London office, signing up Christian Eldershaw to run the operation. Eldershaw was previously Head of Sales at The Modern House, leaving at the end of 2018 to set up as an independent buying agency and “holistic” sales/letting agent, operating under an eponymous banner (C M Eldershaw) as well as via Mr & Mrs Clarke.

John Pye

Family-run auction house and estate agency John Pye has opened a base in the Emirate of Ajman, near Dubai in the UAE. The 50-year-old firm’s first international outpost will service the luxury, retail and property departments, working with its Old Bond Street flagship space.


Listed estate agency and property firm Belvoir has added to its financial services division, acquiring MAB (Gloucester) Limited for £3.6m to become the largest Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB) key account. This deal follows the £2m acquisition of Brook Financial Services in July 2017. Michelle Brook, currently MD of Brook, steps up to manage Belvoir’s entire financial services division.

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Buying Agents

SP Property Group

Jo Eccles’ SP Property Group has recruited Noel Hennelly as a Senior Property Manager to help look after the firm’s £1bn+ managed rental property portfolio in central London. He joins from Touchstone, which looks after swathes of build-to-rent and institutional-grade resi portfolios across the country, having previously worked at Savills and at Chelsea-based high-end developer/investment firm Obbard, as a property manager.

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Developers & Consultants


Lodha UK is separating from its Indian parent company, Mumbai-based giant Lodha Developers - which is restructuring its holdings ahead of a planned public listing. The move will “provide operational flexibility for Lodha UK to continue to grow”, said the firm in a statement. An official announcement confirms that a “passive private equity investor who is well known to the company” is being brought into the No.1 Grosvenor Square and Lincoln Square projects, and that the firm will continue to act as development manager on both, along with the recently-announced Kensington Odeon, and any future endeavours.

Native Land

Native Land has added five to its team. David Robinson has been brought on as Senior Project Manager; he’s previously worked worked on London projects with the likes of Finchatton, Candy & Candy and Crown Dilmun. Richard Alty has joined as a Business Analyst from Knight Frank’s resi development team. Felicity Masefield has moved over from Cushman & Wakefield to take on a Development Executive position, and new graduates Fergus Jones (Assistant Development Executive) and Ronald Lee (Investor Analyst) have also been hired.

Sq. One Real Estate

Start-up mixed-use and residential property consultancy Sq. One Real Estate has hired Patrick Vincent as a Property Development Consultant. He’s spent the last two years at Nick Mansour’s design-led boutique development firm Frame Property. Before that, he worked as an Architectural Assistant at Hall McKnight and at abgc Architects.


JLL has made three appointments to its build-to-rent and property management teams. William Uelese has been brought on to oversee the resi property management teams across prime and core parts of London. He previously headed up the property management divisions at John D Wood, Chase Evans and MyLondonHome. Hamish Cameron has joined the BTR and PRS asset management team as an associate director, following stints at Westrock and Platform. Hannah Bowen has been brought on board as Resident Engagement Manager, after nearly four years at investment firm Delph Property Group.

Legal & General

Legal & General has boosted its built-to-rent team with three new hires: Nisha Kerai as Senior Asset Manager from Grainger; Alex Sangway as Construction Manager from Berkeley Group, and Andrew Esam as Development Manager from Upside London.

Knight Frank

Knight Frank has added two to its residential planning and development team in Bristol. Former GVA and Colliers International man Nick More has joined the resi development land team; fellow GVA alumnus Tom Sadler joins as Senior Planner.

Harvey Homes

Cheshire-based Nicholas Harvey Ratcliffe, a former property consultant at Sainsbury’s, has teamed up with his son, Thomas Harvey Ratcliffe, to launch Harvey Homes Group, with the aim of delivering high-end schemes across affluent parts of South Manchester and the North West. Ex-Hillcrest Homes MD Michael Kennedy, who also used to run the Land and New Homes division at Countrywide, has been brought on as a consultant.


Wates Residential has hired a new Development Director to lead delivery of one of London’s biggest housing regeneration projects. Lia Silva has joined from Ballymore in the newly-created role, to run Wates’ £1bn joint venture with the London Borough of Havering.

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Marketing, Legal & Others

Agents Giving

Peter Knight has stepped down as Chairman of property industry charity Agents Giving, after 11 years at the helm. He is succeeded by Michael Stoop - a former Managing Director at Winkworth and Group MD at Martin & Co; Stoop is also a Non-Exec Director at The Property Ombudsman and chair the TPO’s Industry Forum. Knight will continue to work with AG as a Director.


LandAid launched a search for “a senior property leader to provide strategic direction and leadership” as its new Chair of the Board of Trustees (a voluntary role). The property industry charity’s current Chair, Liz Peace CBE, steps down this month (January) after three years at the helm.


Zoopla has hired a new Chief Marketing Officer, following the property portal and tech business’s £2.2bn acquisition by US private equity firm Silver Lake Partners over the Summer. Gary Bramall has been tasked with driving “marketing strategy, differential and growth” across Zoopla’s suite of websites and apps. He joins from mytaxi, for which he led a rebrand as CMO, following its merger with taxi app Hailo. Brammall previously held senior roles at Microsoft (Global Senior Brand Director for a year), Skype (Global Director of Brand & Creative for five years), Apple and Orange.


Global communications agency Porta has assembled the largest specialist property PR team in London, following the merger of its Newgate and Redleaf brands. City-based Redleaf has now been fully integrated under the Newgate banner, led by CEO Emma Kane.


Reed MIDEM, organiser of the MIPIM portfolio of property-related events, has hired Estates Gazette’s former Executive Director as its new Director in the UK and Ireland. Trevor Goodman now has responsibility for overseeing all sales and conference activities and managing the MIPIM and MAPIC brands in this country. His first move has been to announce a shift of venue for the MIPIM UK event: the 2019 edition will be held at Old Billingsgate, in the City of London, in October.

Landmark Information

Landmark Information, which provides much of the UK’s land and property search information, has appointed Simon Brown as its new Chief Executive Officer and Stephen Stout as its new Executive Chairman. Current CEO Mark Milner is moving over to a newly-created role, becoming Senior Adviser to Landmark’s parent company, DMGT (which offloaded its sizeable stake in ZPG in 2018), with a remit “to identify and develop next generation opportunities in the property space.” Milner was once CEO of Digital Property Group, which operated property portals Globrix and FindAProperty before it merged with Zoopla in 2012.

Smallbone of Devizes

Heritage kitchen design brand Smallbone of Devizes has been rescued by one of the biggest names in New York real estate. Smallbone’s parent company, Canburg, filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators at the end of November. A new owner - Gary Barnett, Founder and President of US firm Extell Developments - was announced a week later. Barnett’s Extell is behind super-prime schemes including the record-breaking One57 in Manhattan (which features Smallbone kitchens). Canburg’s Executive Chairman, Ian Gray, continues at the helm along with the rest of the senior management team.


Visual content providers AudioAgent and KeyAgent (which runs photo editing app Photobox) have merged to become FocalAgent - which claims to be the single biggest property marketing business in the UK. There’s no change to the senior management team (Tom Claridge, Matt Gates, Ben Quiney, Tim Wright, Rolf Groenewold and Jeremy Hallsworth), but all 120 staff from both businesses have moved to a new 13,000 square foot base called “FocalCity’.

Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP

Top HNW law firm Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP has appointed Emma-Jane Weider to the newly-created role of Managing Partner, and recruited Rupert Ticehurst to head up the Disputes team. Clare Maurice continues as Senior Partner.


Law firm Fladgate has appointed Olivia Batemen as a partner in its construction team. Bateman joins from Squire Patton Boggs, following stints at Watson Burton (where she was one of the founding partners of the London office), and Herbert Smith. Fladgate has made 34 lateral partner hires within the last three years.


Start-up property aggregator/portal Rummage4Property has recruited Anthony Codling as CEO; Codling is a former Managing Director and housing market analyst at investment bank Jefferies.

Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government launched a recruitment search for a “Head of Architecture” to advise the government on “architectural policy and practice”. The job comes with a £61,083 salary, with the successful candidate expected to work “a minimum of 2 to 3 days per week” in the Ministry’s London office. The window for applications closed at the end of December.

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