Former Hamptons chair to take helm at Foxtons after investor pressure

Home Loans

A former chairman of Hamptons International is to take the helm at Foxtons, the London-focused estate agent, following a period of pressure from its biggest investors.

Sky News has learnt that Foxtons’ board has selected Nigel Rich, who has also chaired Segro, the warehouse operator, to replace Ian Barlow, who said earlier this year that he would step down.

An announcement about the change of chairman is expected in the near future.

Mr Rich’s pedigree in the property sector and beyond means his appointment is likely to be well-received by the City.

The company’s performance has steadily improved this year, but it has nevertheless endured a rocky ride over executive pay packages and aspects of its corporate strategy.

In June, Hosking Partners, which holds an 11% stake in the estate agent, called for “radical board-level change” at the company.

Foxtons enjoyed its best first-half trading performance since 2016, although that was partly fuelled by homebuyers rushing to beat the end of the Treasury’s stamp duty holiday.

Like many London-listed companies, it tapped shareholders for fresh capital after warning of a collapse in revenues after the onset of the pandemic.

It also took furlough funds from the government during the period when its branches were closed.

Shares in Foxtons closed on Thursday at 52.2p, giving the company a market capitalisation of £174m.

Foxtons declined to comment.