May 20, 2019 / 7:26 AM / 2 months ago

Purplebricks names interim U.S. boss, restates optimism for business

(Reuters) - Purplebricks Group Plc named Phil Felice as the interim boss of its U.S. operations on Monday to oversee the online estate agent’s review of the business and said it was optimistic about the future of the business.

Purplebricks had said earlier this month it would review its U.S. operations after admitting it had chased international growth too quickly and saw its founder and chief executive officer, Michael Bruce, quitting.

“We are currently assessing a number of different scenarios around how we operate in the U.S. but remain optimistic about the opportunity for Purplebricks here,” Chief Executive Officer Vic Darvey said.

In its most recent trading update, the AIM-listed company said it had materially cut investment in the United States and was assessing whether it could run a “materially scaled back U.S. business”.

Purplebricks, backed by fund manager Neil Woodford as well as German publisher Axel Springer, aggressively challenged high-street estate agents due to its low-fee model with a policy of not charging traditional moving fees.

Felice was Purplebricks’ vice president of sales in the United States during 2017-2019 and was appointed as executive vice president of the business earlier this year, the company said.

Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; editing by Gopakumar Warrier

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