One of estate agency’s most influential figures, Connells Group Chairman Stephen Shipperley, has announced his intention to retire at the end of 2022, after celebrating his 45th anniversary with the business earlier this month.
Stephen started his career in 1977 as an 18 year old Trainee Negotiator at the Connells Aylesbury branch, before becoming Branch Manager at Connells High Wycombe aged 21 – the High Wycombe branch would become the most profitable branch in Connells for much of the 1980s. Stephen rose through the ranks, becoming a Director in 1988 and Chief Executive in 1990, and Connells Group Chairman in 2008.
In his early years at Connells Aylesbury, Stephen played a key role in piloting the in-branch mortgage services model, before introducing it to the Connells High Wycombe branch which became the flagship for mortgage services under his management. The model became hugely successful in the 1980s, with Stephen driving forward Mortgage Services as an integral part of the Connells estate agency business. A strong advocate for Mortgage Services, Stephen has helped to transform Connells Group’s offering through investment and astute leadership. The business is now one of the largest mortgage distributors in the UK, with 1300 employed mortgage advisors and £35bn+ of lending generated in 2021.
His vast experience, passion for developing people and appetite to expand horizons have helped to make Connells Group the industry force it is today, cementing its position as the largest and most successful estate agency company in the property industry. In 2021, Connells Group had a turnover of circa £1bn and profits of over £181m.
During Stephen’s tenure, Connells Group has gone from being a 20 branch regional estate agency to become the UK’s largest property services group, with over 1,250 branches employing 16,000 colleagues. Key milestones include:
- Taking Connells private in 1996 in a management buyout backed by the Skipton Building Society
- The formation of Rightmove in 2000 with Connells a founding shareholder; Stephen remained a Director of Rightmove for over a decade
- The acquisition of Sequence from Royal & Sun Alliance in 2003 that more than trebled the size of Connells Group at the time
- The acquisition of high-quality regional businesses such as Sharman Quinney, Peter Alan, Burchell Edwards, Gascoigne Halman and Rook Matthews Sayer
- The acquisition of The New Homes Group in 2007
- The acquisition of Countrywide in March 2021 which more than doubled the size of the then Connells Group
“I have been extraordinarily fortunate and lucky in my career. Firstly to join estate agency as a profession and, most importantly, to have joined Connells,” says Stephen. “The business has trained and developed me, given me opportunities and challenges, and enabled me to work with a wonderful team of talented and driven people who have made the business what it is today. Connells Group is blessed with a results-focused, dynamic culture where people are at the centre of everything we do; a true meritocracy.
“The business has been able to achieve the great things that it has because of the experience and strength in depth of the management within the business, and I am immensely proud to have been a part of that management team,” concludes Stephen.
David Livesey, Connells Group CEO, adds, “After such a long and successful career with us, Stephen will leave a lasting impact on the business. His appetite for innovation and hunger for success have shaped who we are today and we thank him for his years of service to Connells Group.”