Countrywide chief executive Granville Turner is to step down this year and will become non-executive chairman when a replacement is found.
The move, announced as the property group posted its 2013 results this morning, will see interim chairman David Watson become deputy chairman and senior independent director.
The board is also looking for two more independent directors following the resignations of Robert Davies and Neville Richardson last year.
Countrywide saw a 37 per cent increase in pre-tax earnings for the year, from £63m to £86.6m, buoyed by a resurgent housing market.
The group’s share price has surged over 70 per cent since it launched its flotation last March with an offer price of around 350p per share. It currently stands at 622p per share and has been steady this morning following publication of the results.
Turner says: “I take great pride that as a PLC, Countrywide is operating so well following successful results for 2013 and, after careful consideration, I have decided that now is the right time for me to step down from my role as chief executive.”
Watson adds: “The group and its shareholders owe a huge debt to Grenville, and to the senior management team who have worked so closely with him over the years.”
Watson predicts the group will continue to benefit from market conditions this year. He says: “With more lenders now supporting Help-to-Buy, macro economic indicators forecasting growth in the UK economy and consumer confidence indices improving, we fully expect the UK housing recovery to continue and anticipate that we can deliver the highest ever levels of group profitability in 2014.”