Movers & Shakers in Property September 2020

30 September 2020

View the monthly briefing on important recruitment moves shaking up the UK's property sector for September 2020. Links to each full story can be found at the bottom of each section.

Estate Agents

Richard Winter

Former Savills area director Richard Winter has launched an eponymous buying agency to tap into the current upsurge in demand for prime country houses across Surrey. Winter had been with Savills for the last 17 years, in charge of a fleet of offices running from London to the south coast, covering Surrey, Berkshire, Hampshire and West Sussex. He will be working with office manager, Lucy Jones, who has also joined from Savills.

The Buying Solution

Knight Frank’s buying agency division, The Buying Solution, has brought in former Knight Franker James Davies as Partner to run retained client searches across the Southern Home Counties. Davies has spent the last decade with KF, having joined as a negotiator in the Henley on Thames office in 2010. He’s since worked in the national Country House Department and run two of London offices (Queen’s Park and Fulham/Parsons Green).

Capital Place Properties

A new acquisition and design firm is hoping to “disrupt the traditional market model” in London with the launch of a one-stop shop for prime buyers. Helmed by Harry Helsby (son of former Savills chief exec Jeremy) and Alexis Stellakis, Capital Place Properties is offering a “bespoke turnkey service” for UK and overseas purchasers, covering the initial search stage, all the way through to architectural transformation, interior design, furnishing and lighting. Inchbald alumnus Helsby, 29, started out at Foxtons and Savills before moving over to the development side with boutique firm Wilben; Stellakis, 30, spent five years as an investor, buying, developing and selling a number of projects in PCL, before teaming up with Helsby in 2019.

Read in full - Buying Agent Stories

Estate Agents

Marsh & Parsons

Marsh & Parsons has recruited ex-Hamptons and Dexters man Marc Goldberg to run its PCL sales operation. He will be in charge of nine offices for the LSL-owned firm, including flagship branches in Holland Park, Kensington and Notting Hill. Goldberg previously spent nearly three decades at Hamptons, rising to become Head of Sales and Executive Director. He then did a brief stint at Dexters in 2018, before setting up as an independent consultant.

Domus Nova

Independent west London agency Domus Nova has brought in ex-Knight Frank partner Giles Barrett to lead its sales team. Barrett left KF to join Rentify at the start of this year, after nine years with the firm. He’s previously worked run Marsh & Parsons’ lettings team in Chelsea and been a senior associate at Carter Jonas.

Knight Frank Auctions

Knight Frank is formally launching a property auction business, following a pilot sale held in July. Richard Watson is running the new division as Head of Auctions, having worked as a consultant on the pilot sale. He joined Knight Frank in April after a year as Head of UK Residential Auctions at BidX1, and previously spent over 17 years at Allsop, latterly becoming a Partner in its residential auctions division.

Knight Frank

Knight Frank has also named James Cleland as the next chief of its residential country business. He will officially step up on 1st April 2021, taking the reins from David Peters, who is retiring from the agency after 23 years – the last eight of which have been as Head of Residential Country Business. A 25-year veteran of the firm (having joined back in 1995), Cleland is currently head of Knight Frank’s Home Counties region, which has offices in Ascot & Virginia Water, Beaconsfield, Cobham, Esher, Henley-on-Thames and Weybridge.

Knight Frank

Another couple of senior moves at Knight Frank: Laura Dam Villena has been appointed sales boss in the Hyde Park office. She started out on the agency’s grad scheme in 2008, spending five years at the branch on Craven Terrace before moving to set up the Queen’s Park operation. Paul Westwood has been hired from Rampton Baseley to helm KF’s Barnes office.


Winkworth has hired well-known agent and planning specialist Adam Stackhouse to spearhead a move into development and commercial investments. Prompted by the government’s latest set of planning reforms, the 100-branch firm has set up an all-new development and commercial investments division, designed to capitalise on the “huge opportunities” set to be unlocked in the capital and across the regions. Stackhouse has joined after a seven-year stint at Bective Leslie Marsh, where he led the land & new homes team; his CV also includes senior roles at Marsh & Parsons, Chestertons and Hamptons.

Keller Williams UK

Keller Williams UK has recruited former Knight Frank and Countrywide marketing guru Simon Leadbetter as the estate agency looks to continue its dramatic expansion. Leadbetter moves over from Knight Frank, where he was a Partner and Group Head of Marketing, Communications & Digital for two-and-a-half years. He was previously Group Marketing Director at Countrywide Plc, handling the promotion of 63 property brands. His new role gives him responsibility for creating and steering B2B and B2C marketing strategy at KWUK.

Milton Stone

Kensington-based agency Milton Stone has hired Strutt & Parker man Hugo James to head up its lettings division. He joins the firm as partner, having spent seven years at Strutts, where he rose to director-level and was in charge of the agency’s lettings operation in South Ken.

Lord Andrew Hay

Knight Frank’s former Global Head of Residential, Lord Andrew Hay, has completed his remarkable 1,000km solo trek along one of the most historic routes in Europe, raising over £69,000 for Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, which supports families with a seriously ill child. Hay retired from KF earlier this year, after nearly 40 years with the firm. He had planned to start trekking along the spine of Spain almost immediately, but the original April start date was postponed to August due to the Coronavirus outbreak. He covered up to 42km a day for 35 days, successfully completing the challenge and arriving home on 9th September, to start his 14 days quarantine.

Read in full - Estate Agent stories

Developers & Planning

British Land Plc

Chris Grigg has announced that he will step down as CEO of British Land Plc in November, after 11 years at the helm of the huge property company. Simon Carter, currently Chief Financial Officer, has been named as Grigg’s successor. Carter has been CFO since May 2018, when he returned to the firm having previously spent a decade in a number of roles with the business until 2015. His new gig comes with a £750k basic salary. Grigg has been Chief Executive since 2009. He is scheduled to hand over the reins to Carter following delivery of the firm’s 2021 interim results on 18th November, and leave the Board and the company on 31st December 2020.

Meyer Bergma

Meyer Bergman – the private equity real estate firm which is currently working with Finchatton and Six Senses on the super-prime transformation of the Whiteleys shopping centre in Bayswater – has appointed the former UK head of China’s largest residential developer as its new managing director for the United Kingdom and Ireland. Lily Lin has joined MB from the UK arm of China Vanke, where she had been Managing Director since 2015. Before that, she worked at UBS in London for eight years, having previously spent time with Singapore’s first and largest industrial REIT, Ascendas. Lin is now in charge of Meyer Bergman’s investment strategies for the UK and Irish markets, with a focus on “urban repositioning opportunities in core cities such as London and Dublin.” She is working alongside Chief Investment Officer Josip Kardun, who was recruited earlier this year.

Apex Airspace

Specialist property developer Apex Airspace has recruited a new Chairman to replace Chris Phillips, who is moving on after three years with the firm. Haydn Mursell has spent the last decade with construction firm Kier Group, working as CEO and CFO. He was formerly Chief Financial Officer at Lendlease, and Deputy Group Finance Director at Balfour Beatty.


Planning consultancy Lichfields has appointed a new Senior Director to its London-based Major Projects Team. Michael Lowndes previously spent 15 years as a Senior Director at Turley, and four years as Director of Bennett Urban Planning for tp bennett. Before that, he was a Principal Officer at Westminster City Council for 14 years, and has also worked for local planning authorities in Bromley and Hackney.

Hill Group

Residential property developer Hill Group has hired Matt Tunley to fill the newly-created role of Head of Strategic Land. He joins from Wates Group, where he was a Land Director leading a team focused on strategic land acquisition and promotion across Southern England. Before that, he worked at Commercial Estates Group, and spent many years at David Wilson Homes / Barratt Developments plc, latterly as Strategic Land Director covering most regions across the UK.

House by Urban Splash

House by Urban Splash, the Manchester-based modular housebuilder run by Tom Bloxham MBE, has created a new division “dedicated to the future of how we live”, recruiting RIBA North Director Suzy Jones to run the show. Jones has been tasked with exploring “the impact of technology, environmental change and demographic shifts on how we may want, and need, to live in the future.”

Read in full - Developers & Planning stories

Great Estates

Howard de Walden Estate

Andrew Hynard is to step down as chief executive of the Howard de Walden Estate. The former JLL UK deputy chairman has announced he will be retiring in early 2021, having spent the last four years at the great estate, which controls 92 acres of London’s Marylebone. According to a statement from the firm, he will be “considering consultancy and non-executive roles within property and related sectors in due course”. Current COO Mark Kildea has been installed as interim chief executive, and will be working with Hynard to “ensure a smooth and orderly handover”.

Grosvenor Britain & Ireland

Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, which owns a huge chunk of Central London including much of Mayfair, is rolling out its property management services to other property owners in the capital, for the first time in 340 years. Grosvenor Property Management is being pitched as “the UK’s first neighbourhood property manager”, taking care of residential and commercial spaces. Helmed by Head of Property Services Nick Jones, the team promises to provide “a highly effective, specialised and personal service to properties and portfolios in central London” that “helps office occupiers, retailers and residents not only see their building work harder, but their needs represented in the surrounding neighbourhood, creating exceptional settings and experiences.”


Cadogan has brought in a new Sustainability Manager to help roll out an ambitious ten-year sustainability strategy, aimed at improving Chelsea’s environment. Kate Neale joins the 93-acre great estate after spending four years as environment and energy manager at Hammerson.

Howard de Walden Estate

The Howard de Walden Estate has also installed a Head of Sustainability to run point on the business’s environmental objectives. Laura Jockers has joined from JLL, where she spent the last 12-and-a-half years, most recently as Global Sustainability and Research Lead. She’s previously done stints in corporate responsibility for Mott MacDonald, in Defra’s policy unit, and analysing flood risk at Aviva.

Read in full - Great Estates stories

Industry Bodies & Government


Peter Bolton King, the head of residential at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors since 2012, has “semi-retired” from the organisation. Announcing the move on Twitter, Bolton King said that he is now a freelance trainer/consultant. “Calls already coming in so interesting times ahead,” he said. Before joining RICS, Bolton King was CEO of the NAEA for nearly nine years.


Estate agency trade body Propertymark is losing another of its senior figures, with Executive Chairman Christopher Hamer handing in his notice to follow bosses of the NAEA and ARLA out the door. In July, NAEA Propertymark Chief Exec Mark Hayward announced that he would retire at the end of this year. A few weeks later, ARLA Propertymark Chief Exec David Cox left the lettings industry body with immediate effect. Hamer is a former Property Ombudsman who joined Propertymark – which represents over 17,500 sales and letting agents – as Executive Chairman in 2016.


Tim Balcon has been installed as CEO of Propertymark. Most recently head of of the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment, he was previously chief exec of the Energy and Utility Skills Sector Skills Council, and has also served as a non-exec for the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation. Nicky Heathcote has also been confirmed as interim chair, after two years in a non-exec role.


In addition, Propertymark’s sales and lettings agency arms have appointed new Presidents: Kirsty Finney is in charge at the NAEA, with Angela Davey taking the helm at the ARLA. Finney, a director of Belfast estate agents Rodgers & Finney, takes over from Lauren Scott. Davey is Head of Lettings and Property Management at Peter Alan in Wales. She succeeds former President Phil Keddie.

Government Design Steering Group

Nicholas Boys Smith, founder of Create Streets and co-Chair of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission, has been appointed by the Government to establish a new body, tasked with “driving up design standards and supporting local communities to produce design codes defining beautiful design in each community.” He’ll assemble a panel of experts to advise policy-makers on “how to embed beauty and quality into the new, reformed planning system.”

Read in full - Industry Bodies & Government stories