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Purplebricks CEO leaves amid shakeup of ops

London

ONLINE estate agent Purplebricks announced on Tuesday that its founder Michael Bruce would step down as chief executive immediately as the company winds down its Australian operation and reviews its US one.

Purplebricks, backed by fund manager Neil Woodford, entered the United States last year, aiming to replicate its UK performance in which it grew the business in a Brexit-marred property market.

Non-executive chairman Paul Pindar said: "With hindsight, our rate of geographic expansion was too rapid and as a result, the quality of execution has suffered." He apologised to shareholders for disappointing performance over the last year. A challenging market in Britain caught up to it and the company was forced to issue a revenue warning in February.

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Purplebricks, which also counts German publisher Axel Springer as a shareholder, saw its stock slump more than 64 per cent last year; it has dipped nearly 9 per cent so far this year. The company said it has promoted chief operating officer Vic Darvey to CEO and affirmed its revised revenue forecast of £130 million to £140 million (S$232 million to $249 million) issued in February. REUTERS