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Purplebricks stumbles as online estate agent continues to ponder US options

The online estate agent has appointed US sales director Phil Felice as it looks for a more sustainable business model in the country
Woodford Investment Management is a 29% shareholder in Purplebricks

Purplebricks Group PLC (LON:PURP) has promoted its US sales chief to head up Stateside operations as the online estate agent continues to mull its options after a boardroom clear-out.

Phil Felice, who has served as the group’s US vice president of sales since 2017, has now been made interim chief executive of the US business.

READ: Purplebricks isn’t the first UK company to fail to crack overseas markets, and it won’t be the last

Purplebricks said Felice “will play a pivotal role in determining the group's options for delivering the next phase of growth in the US”, based on a “more sustainable business model”.

Earlier this month, founder and group CEO Michael Bruce was given the heave-ho with immediate effect, following the departures in February of UK CEO Lee Wainwright after a year and US CEO Eric Eckardt after two. Group managing director Vic Darvey was given the reins as group CEO just a few months after he joined as chief operating officer, with the US business placed under review.

READ: Purplebricks shares tank as it announces CEO departure, US strategic review and Oz exit

In Monday’s announcement Darvey said “a number of different scenarios” were being assessed for the US business, but that directors “remain optimistic about the opportunity for Purplebricks here”.

For his part, Felice said the business “has made positive headway with our brand awareness and engagement in the US to date” and that over the coming months he aimed to help develop a new strategy.

Having already fallen more than 70% over the past 12 months, Purplebricks shares fell 3% to 101p on Monday, only a penny above their December 2015 float price. 

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