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Harry Hill quits Countrywide

Harry Hill is to step down from his role of non-executive chairman of Countrywide at the end of the year.

But he will continue to advise the UK’s largest agency group in addition to pursuing private business interests after retiring from the group management board.

He says:
"Countrywide has been my life for two decades during which time it has been a delight to work with, in my opinion, the best bunch of property professionals in the UK. The success that we achieved - and about which we are all proud -  is fully in the public domain, but I personally have absolutely no doubt that the new management team will, as soon as the housing market returns to any semblance of normality, achieve much higher annual profits. Further, it will be sure to richly reward the current shareholders who have, enormously to their credit, supported the business and management 100%-plus through the bleak markets in 08 and 09."

Hill adds that
his other business interests include the chairmanship of a business that plans to float on the Alternative Investment Market in January. He plans to continue seeking other opportunities outside of the estate agency market.

Grenville Turner, chief executive of Countrywide, says: “Harry has led Countrywide through periods of enormous growth and unparalleled success in a number of key roles over the last 23 years.

“I have known Harry for over 10 years and worked with him for almost four years, during which time he has become a good friend and will remain an advisor to myself and the Board going forward. While Harry's business achievements are universally recognised, I would personally like to add that he should also be recognised for having built the open, honest and successful culture, which lies at heart of Countrywide.”

A spokeswoman for the group says there are no plans to replace Hill. "At this stage there are no plans to replace him because we are no longer publicly-listed."

Hill qualified as a chartered surveyor in 1967 and joined the board of Countrywide Assured Group plc in February 1986. He was group managing director until the end of 2006 and then appointed as group chairman in January 2007. He was instrumental in the group's withdrawal from the stock market following its acquisition by US buyout firm Apollo in February 2007. Apollo outbid private equity firm 3i with a bid for around £1.05bn.

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