Property Movers & Shakers August 2021

31 August 2021

PrimeResi brings LonRes the monthly headlines on key property recruitment and business moves from August 2021.

Estate Agents & Consultancy

Strutt & Parker

Strutt & Parker has hired a new boss for its Client Services team. Chris Brand joins from co-living lettings agency London Shared, where he was Sales Director. He started his career with Foxtons, moving on to spend eight years with Chestertons, rising to Associate Director level in charge of the Client Services team. He’s also done a three-year stint with Currell, as Head of Business Development. He’s now charged with building Strutt & Parker’s Client Services team, with a view to “unlocking opportunities within the customer database through a consistent and robust contact strategy” and “helping to optimise all inbound revenue-generating opportunities”.

Douglas Elliman

American agency Douglas Elliman has installed Scott Durkin as CEO, taking over from long-standing boss Dottie Herman.

Carter Jonas and Featherstone Leigh

Carter Jonas has recruited a new chief for its Holland Park office. Polly Wattridge joins as Head of Residential from Featherstone Leigh.

Fine & Country

Franchised estate agency brand Fine & Country has signed up another new licensee, based in Plymouth and covering a swathe of the Devon and Cornwall coastline. Stuart Donnington already runs three property-related businesses in Plymouth. He’s signed up to F&C in a bid to “elevate” his sales offering and will be running the agency with Russell Champion. The plan is to recruit “several associates” to help cover the large territory once it’s more established.

Cooper and Tanner and Geoffrey Smith

Long-established Somerset and Wiltshire estate agency Cooper and Tanner has made its second business acquisition in as many months. The firm has picked up Geoffrey Smith Ltd, based in Shepton Mallet and Midsomer Norton. The Geoffrey Smith team is being transferred over to Cooper and Tanner along with the client base. Owner Andrea Catley will become Branch Manager of the existing Shepton Mallet office.

Vander Elliott

Ex-estate agency boss Tim Van der Schyff has teamed up with former McKinsey consultant-turned-investor Nina Elliott to launch a new venture. Vander Elliott, billed as a boutique direct real estate investment brokerage, will be dealing in the full range of high-value off-market real estate assets and promises to “connect capital with opportunity”. Van der Schyff spent a number of years specialising in the PCL market with Savills and Foxtons, before going on to head up John D Wood’s lettings department; most recently, he was Group Lettings MD for Nick Dunning Associates.

Luxury Portfolio International

Top-end property broker network Luxury Portfolio International has recruited a new boss to run brand partnerships and to help grow affiliate numbers. Jennifer Woodring has been brought in as Vice President, Customer Experience & Brand Collaborations. She previously worked on marketing campaigns for the likes of Simon Property Group (Stanford Shopping Center), Trump International Hotel & Tower (Chicago) and Neiman Marcus Palo Alto luxury department store.


Estate agency Humberts is looking to rebuild a national network of branches. Four franchisees bought the company out of administration in early 2020, adding four new franchisees before the pandemic hit. Now Head of Franchising Tim Stephens (who is also Director of Humberts Norwich) is on the hunt for new joiners around the country, including in London, Wiltshire, the Cotswolds, Herefordshire, Essex and Lincolnshire.


Hybrid estate agency Purplebricks is overhauling its business model, giving its sales agents a fully employed status. Until now, PB’s fleet of around 600 “Local Property Experts” have been self-employed. “Moving to a fully employed model will ensure that the Company can scale up quickly to meet consumer demand,” explains the management. A “talent pool” of over 100 agents has been identified with a view to hiring them “as opportunities arise”.


Savills has set up a new Environment & Infrastructure team, appointing three senior directors to run the show. Dan Smyth is an environmental specialist in strategic infrastructure projects. Andrew Buroni is a big player in planning-focused health impact assessment (HIA) in the UK. Phil Evans is a noise consultant and environmental acoustics expert. The Brighton-based trio will cover energy, infrastructure, air quality and climate, health and social impact, and acoustics specialisms.

Carter Jonas and JB Planning Associates

Carter Jonas has ramped up its planning & development offering, acquiring 11-strong independent consultancy JB Planning Associates, based in Hertfordshire. JB Planning’s team will be merged into Carter Jonas’ existing operation in Cambridge and trade under its name; MD John Boyd joins as group partner, and Paul Atton, James Rennie and Jeremy Pyatt all become partners.

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Tech & Industry Bodies


Savills’ former head of London residential development Dominic Grace, who recently left the firm after 37 years, has joined Austrian proptech outfit Propster as a Special Advisor, with a remit to support its expansion into the UK.


Two high-profile property management trade bodies are thinking about joining forces, with a view to creating a “united and stronger” voice for the sector. The Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) and The Institute of Residential Property Management (IRPM) will seek approval for a merger from their members at upcoming general meetings. A combined organisation would represent both property management firms and professional individuals. If it goes ahead, the two organisations could join forces by the end of the year, although separate brands would be retained for a while longer. It is proposed that IRPM boss Andrew Bulmer would become CEO of the new body, while ARMA Executive Chair Nigel Glen would become the Executive Chair of the board.


Prospective buyers and tenants are being asked to fork out £30 to secure a “priority” viewing through a new website billed as “the world’s first pay-to-view property platform”. ViewRabbit is the brainchild of former Michael Riley, who worked in management at Romans and Savills before setting up hybrid agency Capital & Coastal in 2008.


London-based “smart property management platform” Plentific has raised a huge $100 million sum to bankroll expansion in the USA and other international territories. Plentific was set up in 2013 by CEO Cem Savas and CTO Emre Kazan. It provides a cloud-based platform for landlords and property managers to handle repairs and maintenance.


Estate agency software platform Reapit, backed by private equity investor Accel-KKR, has bought its Danish equivalent business, Mindworking. Founder Claus Mathorne will remain as CEO of Mindworking within Denmark, and will become a General Manager of Mindworking under the Reapit brand. Mathorne also becomes a shareholder in Reapit.

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Developers & Estates

The Crown Estate

The Crown Estate has hired former Grosvenor man Simon Harding-Roots as Managing Director of its London portfolio. He's spent the last five years at GBI, helping to oversee overall strategy as board director and leading the major projects team as exec director.

Grosvenor Britain & Ireland

Grosvenor Britain & Ireland has set up a new investment team to target residential, office and retail opportunities around the UK outside of London, and to manage Grosvenor’s c.£1 billion UK real estate portfolio. Helmed by Rachel Dickie, the team initially has £300 million to open on “income-producing assets where it can enhance their environmental, social and commercial performance and build scale in new markets”. Dickie joined Grosvenor in November from Legal & General, where she was an Investment Director in the Future Cities business, leading the Urban Regeneration team.


Bjarke Ingels, founder of high-profile architecture practice BIG, has set up a new residential property venture that aims to “reimagine the future of urban living”. Nabr is “a first-of-its-kind ‘design living’ company”, co-founded by Ingels with former WeWork exec Roni Bahar and Nick Chim, who was previously a big cheese at Google’s Sidewalk Labs.

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