Legendary ZPG founder and CEO Alex Chesterman is to step back from day to day operations at the end of this month.
His move follows the acquisition of ZPG in July for £2.2bn by Silver Lake Partners, a US private equity firm specialising in technology investments.
Chesterman, 48, will remain on the board of ZPG, and as a significant investor will focus on advising it on product, strategy, and mergers and acquisition opportunities.
Zoopla was founded by Chesterman, whose previous business LoveFilm was also an extraordinary success.
In 2007, he entered what was then a crowded property portal market dominated by Rightmove with a string of clever acquisitions –including that of Propertyfinder from News International.
Under his watch, Zoopla also entered the estate agency software market via the purchase of the Property Software Group from the Guardian. Chesterman also diversified into data businesses such as Hometrack, and notably into the comparison market.
In the past ten years, annual revenues and EBITDA have grown to over £300m and over £120m respectively.
Chesterman has had his battles: offering a different and varied one-stop property shop proposition to Rightmove which has largely stuck to the knitting, Zoopla has been its main opposition but has not managed to overtake it.
Zoopla was also knocked by the emergence of OnTheMarket and its then one-other portal rule, but has since won back many of the agents who initially left it.
Chesterman is one of the country’s most prolific angel investors.
He has personally backed dozens of digital start-ups including Graze, Secret Escapes, SportPursuit, Uniplaces, Carwow, Swoon, Perkbox, WeSwap, Thriva, Farmdrop, Motorway, Tide, Farewill, Cleo and many more and he was awarded an OBE for services to digital entrepreneurship in 2016.
ZPG’s property division, which includes (Zoopla, PrimeLocation & SmartNewHomes), software (Alto, Jupix and ExpertAgent) and data businesses (Hometrack and Calcasa) will continue to be run by divisional managing director, Charlie Bryant, formerly CEO of Hometrack.
ZPG’s comparison division, which includes uSwitch and Money, will be run by newly appointed divisional managing director Tariq Syed.
Chesterman said: “After ten years of developing and growing ZPG into a multi-billion pound market-leading business, now is the right time for me to step down as CEO.
“I am incredibly proud of what the team has achieved, having transformed the markets we operate in for both our consumers and partners.
“ZPG has enormous potential to grow further and I look forward to remaining involved with the company as a board member, investor and strategic adviser as well as being able to focus more time on some of my other investments and interests.”
Simon Patterson, managing director of Silver Lake, said: “What Alex and his team have achieved with ZPG over the past ten years is an incredible growth story, building some of the UK’s most recognised and widely adopted digital brands.
“We are looking forward to growing the business further on the very solid foundations they have built.
“Alex is one of Europe’s most accomplished technology entrepreneurs and we are delighted that he will remain on the board.”