Some people reading this may be shocked to find out that it’s six years since the Bruce brothers launched their fledgling hybrid estate agency, watched by an amused industry and a curious public.
Looking at the duo today, the hair is a little thinner, the skin no longer so flush with youth, and the hard work and rumoured partying culture at Purplebricks beginning to show a little.
But love them or loathe their assault on the UK market, and the downward pressure they’ve applied to many high street agent’s commission rates, it’s hard to deny that the Purplebricks empire is now a hefty piece of corporate masonry.
Research by DealMakerz indicates that there are now at least 1,200 people working for the company within the UK, US and Australia, the vast majority of whom are local property experts.
Purplebricks is on the one hand a very modern beast driven by technology and disruption, but on the other hand in many ways it’s a traditional organisation.
It has now has a relatively hierarchical structure with an army of middle-managers between senior management and Local Property Experts (LPEs) on the ground.
It’s also clear from examining the company’s staff lists that many of the senior players are the early-entry ‘star’ territory owners and LPEs but who are now local and regional sales and lettings ‘directors’.
Also, many of the company’s UK head office big hitters are territory owners too.
But who exactly is running Purplebricks now? Here’s our run-down of the key players featured in the company org chart, below. For an interactive version of the org chart click here.
Pindar is a former CEO of Capita Plc and an early backer of Purplebricks who invested several million pounds during its start-up phase. The Bruce brothers also have him to thank for the introduction to Neil Woodford, the City investor who has led several fund-raising rounds for the company. There are of course more non-exec’s on the PB team, but none more powerful than Pindar.
45-year old Michael worked in the legal profession before buying West Midlands estate agency Burchell Edwards with his brother in 2008, later selling it to Connells in 2011. The cash from this sale helped fund the initial work to get Purplebricks off the ground. Michael recently switched to become CEO of the Purplebricks group, handing over the day-to-day running of the UK to Lee Wainright.
42-year-old co-founder Kenny is currently in Los Angeles keeping an eye on its US expansion but has also been busy spending some of his estimated £20+ million fortune sponsoring his home town’s football club in Larne, Northern Ireland. The two brothers, who at one point owned nearly 20% of the company, recently partially cashed-out as part of its recent deal with Axel Springer.
Group Chief Financial Officer James Davies is now in everything but name the No.2 at Purplebricks, unsurprising given the intense pressure on the company to produce City-friendly results since its flotation in 2015. He spent the rump of his career in the City, and in particular Deutsche Bank, before arriving at Purplebricks in May 2017.
The company’s Chief Digital Officer, Delafield has enjoyed a career at several high-profile organisations including Lloyds Bank, shoe maker Clarks and the Open University. He has been in post since January 2018.
Before Purplebricks Russell made his name creating a brand identity for Confused.com and is a keen advocate of smartphones as the platform ‘of the future’. He’s been the company’s Chief Marketing Officer since 2014 so if you’re not a fan of the cake and milk adverts, blame him.
Wainright became the UK CEO of Purplebricks in January 2018 after nearly a year spent as its COO. He jumped ship to the company from Countrywide, where he was a divisional managing director for 12 years. He has been credited with beefing up Purplebricks’ conveyancing and recruitment operations but has been less successful when appearing in the media, including several borderline car crash radio interviews.
He might be the UK operation’s Chief Marketing Officer, but his previous jobs will go down well with football-mad Kenny Bruce. Ed has worked as an FA sponsorship manager at Umbro and a similar role at Nike before joining Comparethemarket.com and then, in 2016, Purplebricks.
Kavanagh was an early joiner, signing up in 2013 to become its Chief Technology Officer. His loyalty paid dividends; he was one of a clutch of senior figures to cash in shares two years ago, and is believed to have pocketed several hundred thousand pounds in the process.
McCarron is Head of Data Analysis and Consumer Research and has been with the company since 2015 and is one of the Bruce brothers’ old friends from their Burchell Edwards days, where he was its head of online marketing before moving to Connells.
Melanie is one of the more recent arrivals from the high street side of the barricades, taking up the role of Head of Customer Experience after 12 years doing a similar role at Spicerhaart.
Parker kicked off his career as a solicitor advocate working in criminal defence trials but then in 2015 switched tack to join Purplebricks as a regional director and has been promoted twice since. He is now its Compliance Director.
Jacques is a West Midlands native and heads up the companies’ national lettings operation, a job he’s done since 2014. Prior to that he worked at Your Move, and before that ran his own lettings business in Birmingham.
James is somewhat a part-timer, but also a long-standing member of the team. As well as having been the UK marketing director at Purplebricks since 2013, he also works for boiler company Hometree and recruitment form Hiring Hub.
Richards, who heads up the company’s fledgling land and new homes division, is another industry stalwart with a long track record at high street agencies including spells at Barnard Marcus and Newton Fallowell. He’s been at Purplebricks since 2016, where he started as an LPE.
Vickerstaff worked with the Bruce brother when they owned estate agency Burchell Edwards where he was the firm’s sales director. He now holds a similar role at Puplebricks, heading up its national sales team, with around a dozen regional sales directors reporting in to him.