Key appointment as former Purplebricks national sales director joins high street chain Spicerhaart

The former UK national sales director of Purplebricks, Paul Vickerstaff, has joined high street chain Spicerhaart as managing director.

He will have responsibility to grow the Spicerhaart business to cover every single postcode in England and Wales.

Spicerhaart’s boss Paul Smith has consistently spoken out for the high street, saying that the online model has not proved it works.

Vickerstaff was with Purplebricks for four years until March, leaving only to join another associated online brand.

Before Purplebricks, he was sales director for almost 17 years at Burchell Edwards, the midlands estate agency previously owned by Michael and Kenny Bruce, before they founded Purplebricks, and where Vickerstaff started his estate agency career as a junior negotiator.

Closely associated with the Bruce brothers, Vickerstaff joined Purplebricks when it launched, becoming synonymous with the brand, its ambitions and growth – and, inevitably, its ‘commisery’ advertising aimed at weaning consumers off high street agents.

In March, Vickerstaff moved across to German online estate agency brand Homeday, after Purplebricks and major shareholder Axel Springer took out a joint stake in it. Shortly after, both Bruce brothers left Purplebricks.

Vickerstaff, 46, now becomes the third managing director in Spicerhaart’s new restructure with specific responsibility for overseeing Spicerhaart’s ambitious geographic expansion.

He joins Russell Jervis and Steve Williams in a triumvirate of three ‘chapter managing directors’.

All three will report to newly appointed group managing director Antony Lark and to CEO Paul Smith.

Spicerhaart says its restructure has increased each managing director’s overall responsibilities, to include sales, lettings, land and new homes, plus financial and legal services, to give a “more cohesive” approach to each of the estate agency brands: haart, Chewton Rose, Darlows, Felicity J Lord, Haybrook, butters john bee, Brian Holt and Howards.

Vickerstaff  said: “I had grown Purplebricks nationally, then helped the team in Germany with the Homeday investment.

“Michael and Kenny Bruce, who I’d worked closely with for many years, had moved on and I was looking for a new challenge.

“I’m very excited to be joining Spicerhaart to look at new opportunities in this ever-changing estate agency space.”

CEO Paul Smith said: “We are delighted with our ‘new signing’.

“It’s unusual to get such a high calibre individual in today’s market. His knowledge and enthusiasm for agency and the future our industry is taking is admirable. Paul will help us grow our business to cover every postcode in England and Wales.”

In his spare time, Vickerstaff enjoys sport, having been a youth cricketer at Warwickshire, and is a particularly keen golfer.

Below, a ‘purple moment’  – Spicerhaart chairman John Spence, Paul Vickerstaff and Paul Smith pictured outside the Spicerhaart headquarters

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  1. Eyereaderturnedposter12

    So the man whom bemoans almost every business under the sun (bar his own), takes onboard an ex-online only exec… 
    If you’ve ever doubted P.S’s integrity …Doubt no more…

    1. Bless You

      They all look a bit purple. Hope they are feeling fit for a fight.


      1. Eyereaderturnedposter12

        The Purple Del Boy, Rodders and Trigger?

      2. s71

        made my day!!

  2. Woodentop

    Poacher turned gamekeeper.

    Another foo par by Smith keeping him and his brand near the bottom of the popularity stakes within the industry?

    1. AgencyInsider

      They don’t give a shizzle what the industry thinks of them. And why should they?

  3. Tealeaf

    Wait until this new singing starts peeling its onion.


  4. Blondage

    Leaving is a strong word. Godspeed spice of heart staff.

  5. AgencyInsider

    Are Tealeaf and Blondage working for MI6? These coded messages are very cryptic.

    1. Eyereaderturnedposter12
  6. padymagic

    Dear Paul

    Good luck with your new signing, did you pay upfront?

  7. PeeBee

    “Paul will help us grow our business to cover every postcode in England and Wales.”

    I think many will take it from those words alone that “it’s all going online, innit?” at SHG Towers.

    Congratulations, Mr Smith – you have well and truly gasted my flabber – and, I would suspect, that of a good many others also.

    1. Ostrich17

      You may well be right – but, surely we have to credit Paul Smith with a modicum of common sense?

      It’s possible that this appointment is simply a means of poaching the handful of decent Estate Agents that actually do work for PB. If so, we may all be applauding his strategy in a few months. 😉

  8. IheartRE

    I can’t believe someone from ex PB management could be considered credible! This won’t last long.

  9. ARC

    I have spent ten minutes trying to think of a response to this news that won’t get removed for being ‘offensive’ and this is the best I could come up with.

  10. IheartRE

    Dear Paul,

    PB’s secret sauce was simply bagging the real estate industry. This way of marketing only lasts so long. Anyone who rode the wave of PB going up, and was smart enough to bail now that the formula is tired and no longer effective, isn’t necessarily a good hire.

    For your sake, I hope he brings value to the table, but I doubt it. In fact, he may well think he’s special when in reality he was just in the right place at the right time with average skills.



  11. Sparky190248


    The total Hypocrisy of this is stunning. For the last 5 years guys like this have tried to put us out of business and now their model has gone of the rails what does one of the biggest critics of their model do?

    Give him a job!!

    credibilty and integrity zero

    1. Robert_May

      If you are a competitor to Spicerhaart he is still trying to win business from you, the only thing that’s changed is the way he charges clients and how much.

      If the plan  comes about to have an agency covering every postcode you will have an ally who will naturally be debunking the myth of savings offered passive intermediary listing agents. Spicerhaart will be the ones  explaining the flaws in the PB list for a fee model so you don’t have to.

  12. Woodentop

    Didn’t Spicer McColl, now Spicer Haart try a web hub in Milton Keynes some years back? The idea was very much on the lines of Purple Bricks before they were born. Lost contact on whether it flopped or not and folded. Is this where Mr Smith & Co are up to again? I’m sure one reader will know, but I recall it was all about trying to grab all the high street agents business with Tescos?
    isold Estate Agents, fixed fees etc.

  13. The Future Is Tech

    “I had grown Purplebricks nationally”

    What? He was the reason behind so many key players leaving and the turn of the downward spiral.

    Taking credit from the agents who do the hard work and using the regional directors to dictate any re-structuring down the line to territory owners who should be employed!!

    Losing respect for Purplebricks dearly. The future is tech and clearly the path has been broken.

  14. Michelle Lockwood

    The regulars on this comments section are idiots. Your industry is changing. What are you all doing to adapt and survive? Keep your eye on the ball and stop snipping at the people that are ultimately going to put you out of business. ”
    It Is Not the Strongest of the Species that Survives But the Most Adaptable”

    1. Eyereaderturnedposter12

      Ah, Ms Lockwood…so glad you could make it.

      I would imagine with such skills in diplomacy, you’ve attended many an Embassy ‘bash’…With that in mind, and before I proceed with a couple of minor points, in response to your comment…perhaps I can interest you in a Ferrero Rocher…or perhaps some tranquilisers?

      No?  So be it….

      Point 1) I suspect that (in spite of your assertion) a majority of the ”regulars” or regular posters, aren’t (as you so eloquently put it) ”idiots”. Indeed (and please correct me if I’m wrong) most are either respected industry figures, MDs, Directors and generally well informed (albeit opinionated, at times) industry professionals. Whilst I concede that idiocy is relative, I suspect you may be quite far off the mark with this comment.

      Point 2) I believe you meant to write ‘sniping’ as opposed to ”snipping”…but of course being an idiot, I may be wrong… and I bow to your vastly superior intellect.

      Point 3) Perhaps you don’t read much on PIE, but it is somewhat ironic that you jump to the defence of a chap who seems to spend a large proportion of his time and column space on this site, ‘sniping’ (or should that be ”snipping”?) at others. Perhaps if he did less of this, he/his firm wouldn’t attract such ill-will/comments of this nature(?).

      Point 4) I can say with a substantial degree of certainty that almost no poster or ”regular” on PIE, is remotely worried about Spicerhaart/PS/Mr. Vickerspoon putting them out of business. To put this into context, I am more concerned about being put out of business by an alien invasion, than Spicerhaart and the like.

      Point 5) Adaptability could reasonably be placed under the umbrella of ”strength”, as the ability to adapt could reasonably be considered as a facet of strength.

      I apologise for my idiotic outburst…Ferrero Rocher?

      No? No problem…the door is just behind you…


    2. ARC

      If seeing the complete hypocrisy in this news story makes me an idiot, then sign me up.

      1. Spare Room

        Idiots… is a bit strong.

        I think most on hear understand the industry is changing and most also say it as they find it. Many will be executing plans on a daily basis to improve their offering. Nothing ever stands still as you elude to.

        Mr Smith has repeatedly appeared on this medium over the past 5 years picking holes in others and at the same time, glorifying his own business as the picture of perfection. This maybe the reason he has come under fire on this occasion. No doubt we will all hear over the coming months about any successes or failures.

        Finally, classifying the readership (or in this case, just the regular posters) as idiots is both short sighted and in my opinion, rude. It would be far more dignified and i’m sure gratefully received, if you raised some valid points as to where you see, we in the industry are missing a trick and where you feel we could all improve. Based on your comments, i assume you have at least some of the answers.


        1. PeeBee

          Spare Room

          You may have missed past visits from the inimitable Ms Lockwood… or whatever his/her name may be in reality.

          In short, ‘she’ is a habitual industry site troll on all matters Purple.

          Don’t expect ‘answers’ from the poster – nothing ever comes from this character other than what ‘she’ seems to believe is called “snipping” at anyone daring to make a comment that casts less than a brilliant light on her PurplePals in PurpleLand.

          The venom in ‘her’ posts is the stuff of legend.  Has had us all in bits… nothing but inconsolable, quivering husks of the people we once were that we are thought of in such poor regard.

          But the irreparable damage ‘she’ inflicted upon those who embrace the traditional Estate Agency model was done long ago – the sting has gone out of the attacks now.

          The only shock from this most recent post is the timing.

          Quarter to three?  ‘She’ is normally comatose ’til nine at the very earliest.

          Must be having a Drycember.

          Vive la gin, Michelle deary!


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