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Ombudsman chair appoints right-hand man

Property ombudsman chairman Bill McClintock has expanded the board remit of Countrywide's Gerry Fitzjohn to support him in his role.

The Countrywide acquisition head and former national sales director (pictured) has been appointed into the newly-created role of vice chairman of the property ombudsman's operating company to work alongside McClintock.

Fitzjohn started his agency career as a sales negotiator with Taylors in 1974, working his way up though the Countrywide group until he was appointed to the board in 2000, the same year Countrywide became a member of the Ombudsman for Estate Agents scheme and Fitzjohn joined the OEA board.

McClintock says: “My workload has grown substantially since I became chairman in 2003 and with redress now compulsory for all residential estate agents in the UK it is greater still.

“Gerry will be a great support to me and will, I am sure, make an even greater contribution to raising standards in residential estate agency.”

The ombudsman's workload has increasingly expanded over the years, with lettings cases having soared 90% to 171 in the three months to March 31 compared with first quarter of 2009, according to The Property Ombudsman Service's interim report published in May.

In addition to TPOS, McClintock is spearheading his agency register proposal.

As The Negotiator reported in May, a transitional board has been formed to help progress the register, with board members, who will be unpaid, including Peter Speak and Lady Oakes of Countrywide, Hugh Dunsmore-Hardy of at Winkworth, Peter Grant, managing director of technology provider VTUK and David Newnes, managing director of Your Move.

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