Alex Chesterman OBE, the founder and chief executive of ZPG, has announced he will step back from day to day operations from the end of September.
ZPG, owner of digital brands Zoopla, uSwitch, Money, PrimeLocation and Hometrack, was acquired in July for £2.2 billion by Silver Lake Partners, a US private equity firm specialising in technology investments.
Chesterman will remain on the board of ZPG and as a significant investor. He will focus on advising the board on product, strategy and merger and acquisition opportunities.
ZPG was founded by Chesterman in 2007 and over the past 10 years has grown its annual revenues and EBITDA to over £300 million and £120 million, respectively.
Chesterman is one of the UK’s most prolific angel investors, having backed dozens of digital start-ups including Graze, Secret Escapes, SportPursuit, Uniplaces, Carwow, Swoon, Perkbox, WeSwap, Thriva, Farmdrop, Motorway, Tide, Farewill and Cleo. He was awarded an OBE for services to digital entrepreneurship in 2016.
ZPG’s property division, which includes marketing (Zoopla, PrimeLocation and 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.
“After 10 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,” said Chesterman. “I am incredibly proud of what the team has achieved, having transformed the markets we operate in for both our consumers and partners.”
He added that ZPG has “enormous potential” to grow further.
Simon Patterson, managing director at Silver Lake, stated: “What Alex and his team have achieved with ZPG over the past 10 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 as a significant equity investor and will continue to advise the business on product, strategy and M&A opportunities going forward.” – Simon Patterson, Silver Lake
In May, it was revealed that Chesterman had made an impressive £135 million from ZPG following the Silver Lake deal. Silver Lake agreed to buy ZPG for £2.2 billion, with Chesterman netting around £60 million from the sale of his 12.5 million ZPG shares.
He previously made £33.6 million when the group listed in 2014, and a further £40 million from selling shares between 2015 and 2017.
Zoopla, and its biggest peer Rightmove, have managed to stave off the problems facing traditional listed estate agents such as Foxtons and Countrywide, whose profits have suffered during the slowdown in UK residential property transactions and the rise of online rivals.
ZPG’s share price rose by 60% from the time of its listing in 2014 to news of the Silver Lake deal in May this year.