Movers & Shakers May 2019 Round-Up

31 May 2019

All you need to know on the key recruitment movements across the residential sector during May 2019 - brought to you by PrimeResi. As always, links to the full story are at the end of each section. 

Estate Agents

John D Wood

Nick Taylor, Managing Director of John D Wood, has died after an illustrious four-decade career in the property world. Taylor joined the firm in 1999, and stayed until his passing in May

Aylesford International

Aylesford International’s well-known lettings boss, Catherine Cockcroft has retired after 34 years with the Chelsea-based agency. (Read PrimeResi’s interview with Cockcroft, in which she reveals her thoughts on the biggest changes to affect the sector over the last three decades, and predictions on what the future could hold.)


Michael Bruce has stepped down as Chief Executive of the form he co-founded, Purplebricks. Former Moneysupermarket MD Vic Darvey, who joined the firm in January as COO, has stepped up to the CEO role and the board. Purplebricks has also announced the closure of its Australian business, just two and a half years after launching in the region.


Humberts has promoted COO Tim Simmons to Chief Executive Officer, as the agency’s transformation from high street stalwart to “high touch concept” continues. Simmons started his career at Humberts’ Bridport office as a junior neg in 1999.


JLL has recruited Carter Jonas man George Vernon to help establish a dedicated Mayfair and Marylebone lettings team, and shifted Phoebe Tye from the Knightsbridge office to join him in the Warwick Street HQ.


Johnny Horgan has joined Irish auction platform BidX1 as European Managing Director. He was previously Executive Director of CBRE Ireland’s Capital Markets team.


Jonathan Smith has joined Chelsea-based estate agency Tedworth after seven years with Knight Frank in Knightsbridge. His new role will see him focus on house and off-market sales.


200+ year-old estate agency Chestertons is launching a franchise offering for the first time in its history. Senior directors Gavin Vercoe and Derrick Maguire came on board in January to work with specialist franchise consultancy FranCorp on developing the offering. Former Colliers man Vercoe is focusing on developing the international operation, while Maguire – formerly of Martin and Co and Belvoir – is leading the expansion in the UK.


Britain’s biggest franchised high street estate agency network, Belvoir, has named David Newton as its new IT & Marketing Director. Newton has been promoted to “focus on marketing and IT integration” across its four main high street agency brands.

Read in full - Estate Agent stories

Buying Agents

Middleton Advisors

Buying agency Middleton Advisors has recruited Gemma Maclaren as Prime London and investment advisor. Joining from Douglas & Gordon, Maclaren takes over the role from Ashley Wilsdon, who will now be concentrating on London’s £3m-12m bracket.


Property finding agency Garrington has opened an office in Edinburgh, offering residential search and acquisition services across Scotland. The team is being run by Edwina de Klee, who worked at Douglas & Gordon and at Savills in London before moving up North in 2018 to join investment and management firm Grant Property. She set up as Garrington Scotland in March this year.

The Buying Solution

Will Watson has joined Knight Frank’s property buying arm, The Buying Solution, as Partner and Head of the London. He was previously with Middleton Advisors.

Read in full - Buying Agent stories


Battersea Power Station Development Company

Battersea Power Station Development Company has created a new Head of Brand role to steer the 42-acre development’s global identity, and recruited Brookfield Properties’ VP of Marketing & Communications to fill it. Carlin Fier will be joining the project in July 2019, taking on overall responsibility for all aspects of the Battersea Power Station brand proposition, including marketing, events and placemaking.


London-based boutique luxury property developer and design studio Echlin has recruited the former CEO of Colliers , David Izett, and secured new backing from The Emirates Investment Group as it plans to “invest significant funds into the London property market, major UK cities, and select international locations”.

Crest Nicholson

Housebuilder Crest Nicholson has appointed Tom Nicholson as its new chief operating officer. Nicholson joins from Galliford Try, where he was Divisional Chairman of Linden Homes.

Sobha Realty

Nikhil Brij Kapur has joined Sobha Realty’s new London operation to run sales for the firm’s flagship Sobha Hartland project in Dubai.

Read in full - Developer stories



London and Singapore-based multi-family office Sandaire has launched a new Real Estate Advisory division, recruiting two influential figures to run the show. Chris Horler (pictured) has been hired from Arbuthnot Latham as Managing Director; Robert Stokely from LSH Investment Management has been appointed as a Director.

City Finance Brokers

New mortgage and finance brokerage City Finance Brokers has hired Andrew Gillon to its eight-strong team. Gillon joins from Capital Private Finance, where he led the sales team as Financial Services Director. Before that, he spent nearly 14 years at Hamptons International, rising to London Area Sales Director.

Hilltop Credit Partners

Hilltop Credit Partners has launched as a new property finance platform designed for SME residential developers. The business is run by Paul Oberschneider, and has backing from Oaknorth Bank and Delaware-registered real estate investment firm Round Hill Capital.

Cluttons Investment Management

Cluttons Investment Management has recruited Ian Harvey as a consultant and Chair of its Investment Committee, heralding “a new phase” for the business. Harvey joins Cluttons IM from Stonehage Fleming, where he was Director of Business Development. Before that, he was Head of UK Institutional Business at Neptune Investment Management, and has also worked for LV Asset Management BNY Mellon Asset Management and SocGen.

Read in full - Finance stories

Marketing & PR

Ebury Communications

Former Knight Frank PR manager Celia McKelvey has joined PR agency Ebury Communications as a director, as has Savills alumnus Fiona Vogel.


Consumer insights consultancy TwentyCi has recruited Mark Witherspoon as its non-executive chairman to help “drive and support the next phase of its ambitious growth”. Witherspoon was formerly Data Services Director at ZPG.


A new property portal has launched, pitching itself as “London’s prime residential showcase”. Vyomm, founded by Utsav Goenka, includes a password-protected “off-market” section for homes that want a more discrete approach to their marketing. The website officially launched in May after running quietly since January. Ten prime London estate agents are reported to have signed-up so far, including Beauchamp Estates, Hanover Residential, Carter Jonas, Mark Tunstall Property and Napier Watt. Former Emoov chief Russell Quirk has also been brought in as a consultant.

Read in full - Marketing & PR stories

Tech & Recruitment


Zoopla recruited a new product development team earlier this year, and has now revealed a new long-term strategy to “enable a truly hybrid property lifecycle” through technology. Carl Olivier is running the “new direction” as Head of Product for Software and Productivity. Other new joiners include Holly Westall as Head of Product; Paul Hammond as Head of Engineering, and Peter Sellwood as Head of Software Engineering.


Gazeal, the proptech firm looking to revamp the property sales and conveyancing process, has recruited well-known industry coach Bryan Mansell to set-up an in-house training programme for the platform.

Beaumont Bailey

James Caan’s Hamilton Bradshaw and Faisal Butt’s Spire Ventures are investing a new property-centric recruitment agency, Beaumont Bailey. The start-up has been launched by George Dobbins and James Pope to specialise in board and executive leadership appointments across the Industrial, Infrastructure and Real Estate Sectors.

Read in full - Tech & Recruitment stories