New Countrywide boss will be most powerful woman in property

Britain’s largest estate agency chain, Countrywide, has appointed its next group chief executive.

She is Alison Platt, who takes up her role on September 1, subject to the approval of the Financial Conduct Authority. She is Countrywide’s first woman chief, and will be the only female heading up any of the large corporates.

She will instantly become the most powerful woman in the residential property sector, overseeing Countrywide’s wide range of activities from sales and lettings through to mortgages, surveying and conveyancing.

Like Helen Woodhouse, Your Move’s managing director until her sudden departure a few weeks ago, Platt has no property background.

She chose not to go to university, instead making a career first with British Airways – she joined its cabin crew division as a management trainee, pushing trolleys  – and then private healthcare firm Bupa.

Aged 51, she is married with three children, two of whom are stepchildren, and went to school in Salford. She is a dedicated Manchester United fan.

She was named in a ‘100 Women to Watch’ Female FTSE Report in 2012, and in 2011 was appointed a non-executive director on the board of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

From September 1, Grenville Turner, current group chief executive, will become non-executive chairman, while the current interim chairman since last November, David Watson, will become deputy chairman and senior independent director.

Alison Platt

Platt has spent over 20 years at Bupa in a range of senior roles, including managing director of its UK, Europe and North America division. Most recently, she was managing director of Bupa’s International Development Markets business where she grew revenues to over £1bn and led more than 11,000 people serving 9m customers in a wide range of markets and businesses. She is also a non-executive director of Cable & Wireless.

Commenting on her appointment, she said: “I am excited to be joining such an ambitious company as Countrywide and becoming part of the talented team that helps more people than anyone else in the UK move home.

“I firmly believe that there are significant opportunities available for Countrywide as an integrated player to further strengthen its business and performance through the recovery of the UK property market.

“I look forward to helping navigate the Group through this exciting period of growth for the benefit of our customers, employees and shareholders.”

Turner said: “I am delighted to be welcoming Alison to the Group and to be handing over responsibility to such a proven and energetic individual.”

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  1. ampersat

    If Labour win the next election that honour will surely have to go to Mrs Balls.

    Behind every great man there is a "Yes dear"

  2. ampersat

    B A L L S is a surname

  3. PeeBee

    A VERY brave move by Countrywide. Lets call it a leap of faith – and one that, for Mrs Platt, proves to be a good call.

    Lets face it – as we are currently being made painfully aware, there are MDs out there who are demonstrating nothing whatsoever to prove that they are 'right' for the job.

    Maybe Mrs Platt is bringing something to the table that we all can learn from.

    Good luck and best wishes. It's a great industry to be a part of. Sometimes.

  4. wilko

    This appointment is a really good one for Countrywide.
    Her development of Bupa was mainly through the introduction of new products/ cross selling of products and increasing a stronger online presence.
    I can imagine we will maybe see Countrywide increasing their "pre marketing pack services" and merging branches, to create superbranches thus offering a leaner business without the very heavy burden of extensive High Street overheads.

  5. nosharkbait

    Or a great fall person for all their doings the past decade?
    No property knowledge- ignorance may be a form of bliss for her bosses, but where does it leave her in the future?

  6. PeeBee

    I guess only time will tell, nosharkbait.


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