Foxtons chairman to stand down two months after pay revolt


Foxtons PLC’s (LON:FOXT) long-standing chairman Ian Barlow is to stand down after almost nine years in charge.

The London-based estate agency faced a huge revolt against the board’s pay at the recent AGM with almost 40% of shareholders voting against the remuneration report.

Chief executive Nic Budden saw 17% vote against his re-election while Peter Giles, an independent non-exec received a 32% vote against.

Barlow, by contrast, received 97% support in favour of his carrying on. but he will retire by the end of the year at the latest, Foxtons said.

Reports today suggested that fund manager and 11% shareholder Hoskings Partners had been calling for a change due to the weak share price.

In spite of a booming housing market, Foxtons shares are worth about half their value of five years ago.

Investors were also infuriated by the agent paying out bonuses after taking furlough cash during the pandemic.

CEO Budden was awarded a cash bonus of GBP389,000 despite Foxtons taking nearly GBP7mln in government support.

In a statement, Barlow said: “A series of challenges to the London property market since the Brexit referendum, compounded more recently by the pandemic, have impaired our recent trading performance.

“However, the business has huge potential and I am confident that the refreshed growth strategy, agreed by the Board last year and set out in the Capital Markets Day presentation in June, will result in a substantial rebound in performance.

“Our strategy will take time to deliver and with only one further year to serve under UK governance rules I consider this is the right time to hand over to a successor to oversee its execution.”

Foxtons said that Giles would lead the search for a new chair assisted by recruitment firm Korn Ferry.

Shares were unchanged at 59p.


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