Paul Smith steps down as CEO of Spicerhaart

Paul Smith

Paul Smith, 62, will be relinquishing the role of CEO at Spicerhaart, having founded the business in 1989. He will announce who will be filling his shoes imminently.

The head of the UK’s largest independent estate agency is taking on a new role as executive chairman of the business in order to focus on the company’s ambitious plans to drive growth through acquisitions, Partnerships and digital innovation.

Smith started in estate agency when he was 24 years old when he launched East Anglian estate agency Brewsters, having originally worked as a photographer for the national newspapers. His father Alick joined the company a year later.

They founded Spicerhaart with three branches in East Anglia in 1989, before acquiring part of Cornerstone in 1995 and Woolwich Property Services in 1999, which was renamed haart.

Further acquisitions followed, with Darlows in Wales in 2000, Haybrook in South Yorkshire in 2007, butters john bee in the Midlands in 2017 and Howards in Norfolk a year later. Along the way, Felicity J Lord was established in London in 1998 and upmarket brand Chewton Rose in 2013.

“Although it is an extremely challenging time to be in estate agency, it is also very exciting and I’m looking forward to working with my team and focusing on growing the business through our Partnerships model, as well as acquiring new businesses and embracing the opportunities that AI brings,” said Smith.

He is taking over from non-executive chairman John Spence CBE, who recently retired after 12 years in the role, ushering in a new era for Spicerhaart.

Smith continued: “I learnt so much from John and he will continue as a consultant to the business, with us both contributing strategic and financial knowledge to support the running of the organisation.

“So much has changed in estate agency over the last four decades and we have always tried to stay ahead of the game when it comes to technology, but I repeat my mantra that this business is about ‘people powered by brilliant tech’ and we have seen repeatedly that vendors want to know there are real people who can get their house sale over the line, not an avatar!”

The company’s new plans include further development of its separate Estate Agency and Lettings Partnership programmes, with fully-employed home-based agents supported by larger branches and regional property centres, backed up by three call centres across the UK.

The firm also operates Just Mortgages, Valunation, Spicerhaart Corporate Services and Spicerhaart Land and New Homes.

It also has its own children’s charity, Magic Moments, which has raised well over £2.5 million over the past 25 years to take children from hospices across the UK to Disneyland every year, to experience a trip of a lifetime.

The charity – founded by the Smith family, including Paul’s father Alick, mother Val and sister Alison – has also donated hundreds of toys, Easter eggs and iPads to the hospice families over the years.

Smith added: “We are also looking at further organic growth as well as acquiring more lettings businesses, growing the number of self-employed financial advisers with Just Mortgages, and introducing a new conveyancing offering.

“Plus, importantly, we are identifying how we can give everyone in the Spicerhaart family more of a say in the future running and profitability of the business and developing our team further.”



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  1. 0racle

    Shuffling the deckchairs on the titanic….

  2. Big Sassi

    Looking forward to getting in the big chair since getting rid of the old CW guys with the scandals! hahahahahahah

    room lets up profits down! hahahahahaha

    get everyone on the flat fair whether they want it or not!!!

    And get them on a league table!!!!



  3. The lettings guy

    For the love of comedy get Sat bassi on the throne… give it 6 months it will be less viable than Wilko

  4. Tornado

    What an incredibly uninformed and irrelevant view. If you really knew what was developing in the SH Lettings business you would not post such a ridiculous and offensive statement.

  5. Jesus

    You really think he had any power? Just another puppet gone. Who’s next? the short AL or the Big Sassi? Does’t really make a difference anyway, [Words removed as they breached posting guidelines] their 2 and 2 strategy (brought them so far indeed!) and lot of bedsits to rent all around the country !

    1. jan-byers

      Why racist ?

  6. Lettings Man

    Some ridiculous comments made by obvious haters who have absolutely no substance.No doubts onto their 2nd, or 3rd job after leaving the business and instead of focusing on their somewhat fractured careers they continue with their cowardice infatuation. Move on’ – pardon the pun as no doubt their current employer is already working out that they aren’t what it said on the tin’!.

    Paul Smith has worked incredibly hard as an independent agent, it will be interesting to see the next phase of the business moving forward.


    PYE really need to monitor these fictitious accounts and add in more security as if anything these individuals will be helped as instead of focusing on others they should be spending more time focusing on their own family businesses, or walking their dog so early in the morning!


    1. Jesus

      If anything, I find ridiculous how people like you keep defending a sinking ship with its rotten team. Maybe we should ask to those 400 people fired with a conference call on a Friday evening just before the lockdown? [Words removed as they breached posting guidelines]? Or to those promised a progression and left selling some poor product (2 and 2!)? or maybe the ones asked verbally to work on a bank holiday with the promise of a day in lieu but guess what? there was nothing in writing. I could keep going on for hours if not days giving example on how spicerhaart team treated its staff and how Paul Smith knew and did nothing, surrounded by bad influences and advisors. Most of the branches are not profitable, only focus on putting on rooms in shared houses to make up the listing number and have a free pizza on Thursdays as reward (so you can deduct the expenses, cleaver way of rewarding) . The turnover of the company is huge and the amoutn of vacancies even bigger … this is your answer Mr Lettings Man. Easy to say move-on, when you ruined lives for years with your belly full while a negotiator is working his ass out for 20 grand a year.

      1. Jesus

        oh, and how to forget forcing people to accept a salary cut during the lockdown? I am sure big Paul, big sassi, short AL and the rest of the gang had their salaries cut too …!

        you know what? we agree on something, property PYE really needs more security, they should not  allow Paul Smith and any of you write on here, nor to give any more publicity to spicerhaart.

  7. Scottish_Mist42

    Hmmm it appears some unruly children have obtained their parent’s login details for EYE this morning going by some of the juvenile comments on here today.


    Some disappointing comments here IMO. Agency is ****** hard-it is not a popularity contest

    You cant get away from the fact that Paul Smith has built an extremely large and successful company which, I imagine, is worth a significant amount  of money. Lets be honest-that doesn’t just happen-it wasn’t  inherited it was built from the ground up. If anyone thinks you can do that by being Mr Nice guy all the time you are probably very much mistaken. Think Jobs/Musk/to name but 2

    The next 12-18  months in our industry will be critical who ever you work for and there will be plenty of pain to come. I have seen the brave investments being made at SHG against a backcloth of more difficult trading  conditions .Leadership comes in many guises and fortune favours the brave..




    1. Woodentop

      One bit to add to your response …. Where would he be today without his backing/growth opportunities from Swiss owned “Winterthur”. So many big independent estate agents are indebted to this company.

  9. AcornsRNuts

    Was it really twenty three years ago that Alan Darlow fell from grace yet got a nice payoff? He was indebted to Winterthur Life too.  Without their backing he fell.

    1. Woodentop

      Remember ‘Cornerstone’, that lost the “habit”! More senior in age will only get this and in more ways than one.

  10. Gangsta Agent

    [Comment removed as it breached posting rules]

    1. Gangsta Agent

      PIE, why removed, I ********* out the swear word, it wasn’t that bad and TBF if you listen to the “industry” a true reflection of the individuals

  11. Robert_May

    All those folk with an animosity or envy of what Mr. Smith has achieved and how he’s achieved it can now set about showing him how you could achieve more and achieve it better.

    The market now is  depressed as it was in 1989 and its likely a lot of agencies will fold as they did in the MIRAS winter 1988-1994. In 34 years time let’s see if  you’ve achieved as much and how many detractors are sniping at all you’ve done

    He started a business and grew a business, he’s gone through good times and bad. He’s hired and fired, had people resign but I challenge everyone to write down  all the firms  that did better for so long

    1. Gangsta Agent

      £50,000,000 of someone else’s money ALWAYS helps, don’t you think?

      1. Robert_May

        Some people have managed to turn far more cash into far less cash and are worthy of far less respect.

        With him out of the way it should be far easier for his competition to shine and show everyone how its done and should be done.

  12. jan-byers

    Trustpilot reviews – 38% are 1 star

    Staff get paid peanuts and are usually kids who are still living at home

    1. Scottish_Mist42

      Didn’t realise not living at family home was a prerequisite for working in estate agency these days.  I must have missed that email from HR.



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