The two ‘head shepherds’ at hybrid firm EweMove have explained why they are leaving, without completing the rest of their two-year earn-out period in which they stood to gain £7m.
David Laycock and Glenn Ackroyd, who sold to The Property Franchise Group – formerly Martin & Co – for £8m upfront last autumn, are departing at the end of June. They will stay on as consultants until the end of the year.
The announcement to the London stock exchange was followed yesterday by an email to everyone at EweMove.
The lengthy email, running to over 1,000 words, was accompanied by a 14-minute video – but some said that neither really explained the pair’s decision to forego £7m and quit before succession issues had been resolved.
In the email, Laycock says: “We are sure that this news will be met with a mix of feelings. No doubt these feelings will be reflective of the many emotions that Glenn and I have felt over the last six months, and in particular, over recent weeks, as we have moved towards this decision.
“Six months ago, we would have told you that our decision to sell our shares in EweMove to TPFG and become part of a PLC, was the hardest decision we’ve ever had to make or will ever make in our professional lives.
“But we were wrong.
“Making this decision now has been so much harder.
“Maybe it’s a curse of the entrepreneur, that founders are rarely the best people to lead, manage and nurture a business as it matures. Not only are the skills required very different, but the truth is that the energy consumed in creating a business often leaves the founders ill prepared for the challenges ahead within a maturing business.
“This is where Glenn and I now find ourselves.”
The email goes on: “We’ve worked relentlessly for seven years to make EweMove an enduring success.
“And we’ve literally thrown every last ounce of intellectual and emotional energy that we have into this business.
“Now our fuel tanks are almost empty and the warning lights are flashing.
“Last September, we received our financial reward.
“But we didn’t realise at the time that we still needed to recoup the energy we had consumed.
“Running on empty is not good for us – or good for you – or good for the business.
“And the truth is that we’ve sacrificed so much on a personal level. Both our families are rapidly reaching the stage where our children will soon be fleeing the nest, and the time we have left is precious. Recent bereavements amongst families and friends have reminded us both of the finite time we all have left with our loved ones.
“Given this, we realise that we are no longer the best people to manage and lead EweMove or to support you and the business.”
Cancelling EweMove’s annual conference in July, Laycock and Ackroyd say they will be involved in appointing a new managing director, who will be based at the ‘sheep pen’ – the term for EweMove’s headquarters in Yorkshire.
Yesterday, shares in the Property Franchise Group were unperturbed by the news. They moved up slightly by about 2% to 146p. They started the year at 125p.
* David Wiffen, who this month leaves Andrews Property Group where he was area lettings manager for 16 years, is to set up the EweMove brand in the Herne Hill and Brixton areas of London next month.