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Connells Group Chairman marks 40 years
Stephen Shipperley celebrates milestone anniversary with company
One of estate agency’s most influential figures, Connells Group Chairman Stephen Shipperley, celebrates his 40th anniversary with the business this month.
Stephen's exceptional career started in 1977 when he joined the Connells Aylesbury branch as a Trainee Negotiator straight from school, having passed up the opportunity to go to university. At age 21, he became Branch Manager for High Wycombe, a branch which would become the most profitable in the company under his leadership. Stephen rose through the ranks until his appointment as Connells Chief Executive in 1990 and Connells Group Chairman in 2008.
Under his tenure, Stephen has seen Connells Group expand on all fronts with a number of significant acquisitions – Sequence, Sharman Quinney, Burchell Edwards, Peter Alan, Gascoigne Halman, Rook Matthews Sayer - and a programme of organic expansion. What was a 20 branch business with 150 employees on joining the company in the 70’s, is today the most diverse and successful estate agency and property services group with a branch network totalling nearly 600 and 7,000 employees.
Stephen has played a pivotal role in the progressive strategies that lay the foundations for Connells Group's success. Defining moments include the ground-breaking joint venture with Skipton Building Society in 1996 that saw the senior management of Connells take a significant equity share in the company; Stephen becoming a founding Director, and Connells a founding shareholder in Rightmove in 2000, and founder shareholders in Zoopla in 2010. Today, Rightmove and Zoopla are the UK's most dominant property portals.
Stephen has been at the forefront of pioneering estate agency, everything from branches offering mortgage services in the 70s and seven day opening - commonplace today, but revolutionary at the time - to Connells Group becoming the first corporate to acquire an online estate agency, Hatched. It is through continuous innovation, willingness to change and by retaining the best people in the business that Connells Group cements its position as market leader:
"Over the last 40 years, the industry has seen many changes and challenges, but the culture and ethos that I found when starting my career with Connells - one of entrepreneurship, innovation and a clear focus on attracting and retaining good people - still very much exists today," says Stephen Shipperley. "My own experience is testament to the emphasis that the company places on developing people within this business, giving those with potential the opportunities to advance and progress.
"As a result, we have some of the best people in the industry and good people stay here," continues Stephen. "Most of our management, local, middle and senior, have been with the company 10, 20, 30 years. You might think that my longevity within Connells Group is the exception, but it's very much the rule.
"Throughout my career, I have been privileged to work with the most talented people whose expertise and loyalty to the business has enabled Connells Group to become the major industry force it is today. I am delighted to be celebrating my milestone at Connells and with the people that are our most important asset." Stephen concludes.