Head shepherds at EweMove explain why they are deserting the flock

The two ‘head shepherds’ at hybrid firm EweMove have explained why they are leaving, without completing the rest of their two-year earn-out period in which they stood to gain £7m.

David Laycock and Glenn Ackroyd, who sold to The Property Franchise Group – formerly Martin & Co – for £8m upfront last autumn, are departing at the end of June. They will stay on as consultants until the end of the year.

The announcement to the London stock exchange was followed yesterday by an email to everyone at EweMove.

The lengthy email, running to over 1,000 words, was accompanied by a 14-minute video – but some said that neither really explained the pair’s decision to forego £7m and quit before succession issues had been resolved.

In the email, Laycock says: “We are sure that this news will be met with a mix of feelings. No doubt these feelings will be reflective of the many emotions that Glenn and I have felt over the last six months, and in particular, over recent weeks, as we have moved towards this decision.

“Six months ago, we would have told you that our decision to sell our shares in EweMove to TPFG and become part of a PLC, was the hardest decision we’ve ever had to make or will ever make in our professional lives.

“But we were wrong.

“Making this decision now has been so much harder.

“Maybe it’s a curse of the entrepreneur, that founders are rarely the best people to lead, manage and nurture a business as it matures. Not only are the skills required very different, but the truth is that the energy consumed in creating a business often leaves the founders ill prepared for the challenges ahead within a maturing business.

“This is where Glenn and I now find ourselves.”

The email goes on: “We’ve worked relentlessly for seven years to make EweMove an enduring success.

“And we’ve literally thrown every last ounce of intellectual and emotional energy that we have into this business.

“Now our fuel tanks are almost empty and the warning lights are flashing.

“Last September, we received our financial reward.

“But we didn’t realise at the time that we still needed to recoup the energy we had consumed.

“Running on empty is not good for us – or good for you – or good for the business.

“And the truth is that we’ve sacrificed so much on a personal level. Both our families are rapidly reaching the stage where our children will soon be fleeing the nest, and the time we have left is precious. Recent bereavements amongst families and friends have reminded us both of the finite time we all have left with our loved ones.

“Given this, we realise that we are no longer the best people to manage and lead EweMove or to support you and the business.”

Cancelling EweMove’s annual conference in July, Laycock and Ackroyd say they will be involved in appointing a new managing director, who will be based at the ‘sheep pen’ – the term for EweMove’s headquarters in Yorkshire.

Yesterday, shares in the Property Franchise Group were unperturbed by the news. They moved up slightly by about 2% to 146p. They started the year at 125p.

* David Wiffen, who this month leaves Andrews Property Group where he was area lettings manager for 16 years, is to set up the EweMove brand in the Herne Hill and Brixton areas of London next month.

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13 Comments

  1. nextchapter

    I really related a lot to what was said. It’s no easy task and good luck guys.

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  2. AgentV

    You have to admire what David and Glenn achieved over the seven years and the pay off is reasonable reward for their efforts. Good luck guys…..but if you want to get your teeth into something else at any point, please give us a shout!

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  3. IndAgent

    A nice reminder that we are all human. Family must always come first. Enjoy your down time. 🙂

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  4. Eamonn

    Fair play gents

    good luck

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  5. PaulC

    Chaps, having been through a similar albeit smaller sale some years back I know exactly how you feel.

    Take some time and when you get bored and fully recharged you can go again at whatever takes your fancy.

    Personally, I have committed to myself to give up the day job in just under 2 years and spend some quality time with the family.

    Enjoy the spoils of your efforts.

    1 Life, it’s not a rehersal, live it.

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  6. Agentdisturbed61

    Interesting. As ever the news is not really being reported with any facts. Fact One. Martin and Co buy Xperience (Whitegates. Ellis and Co, Parkers and CJ Hole) asset strip it and in no time at all, all the head office staff have left including Michael Stoop. Fact Two, Martin and Co buy Ewemove and in no time the two founders are leaving. Does this perhaps suggest that Ian Wilson at Martin and Co does not play well with others? Is it his way or the highway? That system works well when you are always right, but was he right in paying £5million for ewemove? Is he going to hit his own earn out targets? Will he run out of capable people able to work alongside him?

    Maybe, Maybe not. While he keeps pushing the earnings up, all will go well, if ewemove does not perform, that will become a big black hole in the balance sheet and a big black mark on the copy book.

    All interesting times I think!

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    1. dylan00169

      Ian WIlson needs to find the right person quickly to ensure that the tech they purchased with ewemove doesnt end up being a white elephant. Question is how quickly can they find the right tech leader who is also aware of how agency works? interesting times indeed

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  7. Typhoon

    The answer is they are cashing in. No shame in that. It would be nice if they just admitted that.

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    1. mrharvey

      And our survey says…. KKRKKKKMMM
      Anyone who followed these guys knows they care more deeply about EweMove and what it represents, than most of us can even imagine. I wouldn’t be surprised if tears were shed over this decision. It won’t have been about the money. If they wanted to cash in they would have stuck around for another year or two and pocketed plenty more.

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      1. Fair point

        I think you are spot on mrharvey. Couldn’t have put it any better myself.

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  8. AgencyInsider

    Why would anyone expect that innovative entrepreneurs who have invested vast amounts of effort to build their business and have done so by being able to have a conversation between themselves to make major decisions and act on them instantly, would find it comfortable working with a new ‘boss’ who now owns their business – and that they are now straight-jacketed by corporate governance.

    With more dosh in the bank than they will ever need, they have what used to be called ‘Get Stuffed’ money. And they have used it. Good on ’em.

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  9. htsnom79

    I say good luck to them, well done, right place right time and an idea many good agents probably mused but didn’t do executed with gusto and guile, great payday and they might be one of few along with the Bruce’s, I hope the public are smarter than that, if you need a lawyer do you naturally gravitate towards the one you saw on a day off because the advert was on after This Morning with Lorraine and again in the commercials in the evening because England were playing on ITV?

    I don’t, and selling your house is a serious business.

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    1. AgentV

      Don be disheartened by a comment left later in the day not getting much attention . I liked it,!!!!!

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