Connells Group has just announced that its chairman Stephen Shipperley is set to retire at the end of this year after 14 years in the role and a total of 45 years with the company. His replacement has not yet been appointed.
Shipperley, who celebrated his 45th anniversary with the business earlier this month, started his career with Connells Group in 1977 as an 18-year-old trainee negotiator at the Connells Aylesbury branch, before becoming branch manager at Connells High Wycombe aged 21.
The High Wycombe branch under his watch become the most profitable branch in Connells for much of the 1980s, helping to propel Shipperley through the ranks, becoming a director at the business in 1988 and chief executive in 1990, and Connells Group chairman in 2008.
He has played a major role in helping to make Connells Group the industry force it is today, cementing its position as one of the largest estate agency company in the UK property industry. In 2021, Connells Group had a turnover of circa £1bn and profits of over £181m.
During Shipperley’s tenure, Connells Group has gone from being a 20-branch regional estate agency to become the UK’s largest property services group, with over 1,250 branches employing 16,000 colleagues.
Key milestones include:
+ Taking Connells private in 1996 in a management buyout backed by the Skipton Building Society
+ The formation of Rightmove in 2000 with Connells a founding shareholder; Shipperley remained a director of Rightmove for over a decade
+ The acquisition of Sequence from Royal & Sun Alliance in 2003 that more than trebled the size of Connells Group at the time
+ The acquisition of well-established regional businesses such as Sharman Quinney, Peter Alan, Burchell Edwards, Gascoigne Halman and Rook Matthews Sayer
+ The acquisition of The New Homes Group in 2007
+ The acquisition of Countrywide in March 2021 which more than doubled the size of the then Connells Group
Shipperley commented: “I have been extraordinarily fortunate and lucky in my career. Firstly to join estate agency as a profession and, most importantly, to have joined Connells.
“The business has trained and developed me, given me opportunities and challenges, and enabled me to work with a wonderful team of talented and driven people who have made the business what it is today. Connells Group is blessed with a results-focused, dynamic culture where people are at the centre of everything we do; a true meritocracy.
“The business has been able to achieve the great things that it has because of the experience and strength in depth of the management within the business, and I am immensely proud to have been a part of that management team.”
David Livesey, Connells Group CEO, added: “After such a long and successful career with us, Stephen will leave a lasting impact on the business. His appetite for innovation and hunger for success have shaped who we are today and we thank him for his years of service to Connells Group.”