Foxtons shares fell yesterday as it announced a £1.1m drop in sales revenue during the first three months of this year – and the unexplained departure of its chief financial officer.
Mark Berry, also an executive director, had been in post for only two and a half years, having joined from a long stint at business group Hays.
He will be leaving Foxtons “by mutual agreement” at the end of July and will step down from the board next month.
The announcement to the stock market said he will receive three months’ salary “as a notice period payment and in lieu of any bonus” for this year.
It is not altogether clear what will happen to the share options awarded to him in 2017, but these will be “pro-rated for time, subject to existing performance tests on the normal vesting date”.
His replacement as chief financial officer is Richard Harris, who joins on June 24, the day Berry steps down from the board.
Harris was previously group financial controller at Lairs and before that spent over 11 years at Marks & Spencer in various roles.
Foxtons chairman Garry Watts said: “On behalf of the board and everyone at Foxtons, I would like to thank Mark for his substantial contribution over the past two and a half years, during which time the business has undergone a period of rapid change and development. We wish Mark every success in his future new challenges.
“We are delighted to welcome Richard to our team. His skills and experience are a great fit for the group and will be invaluable as we continue to pursue our strategic objectives.”
At yesterday’s Foxtons’ AGM, shareholders were not altogether happy with the remuneration packages for the firm’s bosses.
The remuneration report, awarding chief executive Nick Budden and Mark Berry £389,000 in bonuses for last year, was passed – but by 78% of shareholders.
The bonus money was up from £371,000 the previous year despite the company making an annual loss and a 30% fall in the share price.
Overall, Budden was paid £910,000 and Berry £480,000.
In a statement after the vote Foxtons said it acknowledged that a “notable” number of shareholders had opposed the resolution. Foxtons said it will now conduct a detailed review of its remuneration policy.
Foxtons also yesterday announced a new non-executive director, Alan Files, a previous non-executive director at the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition and Markets Authority.
Foxtons’ shares yesterday went down 6.5% during the day but picked up slightly to finish ar around 5% down at about 57p, after warning that transactions in London are at a record low.