Former RightMove executive Neil Tavender has been recruited to get PurpleBricks Australia back on track. This follows an exodus of sales agents and allegations of a toxic work culture, U.K. real estate site The Navigator reports.

While the company’s expansion to Australia has hit a few stumbling blocks, it’s understood Tavender (LinkedIn profile) has been given $2.5 million AUD ($1.8 million U.S.) in stock options to join the company as its chief operating officer.

Neil Tavender

Neil Tavender

Tavender, who moved to Australia in 2011, was previously the sales director of U.K.-based property site RightMove. He also served as group head of sales at Australia-based publisher APN News and Media.

Twenty-seven agents left PurpleBricks Australia in the three months to June this year. Many claimed they struggled to get by financially and alleged the company engaged in bullying behavior — allegations strongly denied by PurpleBricks.

The hybrid agency has also come under fire for misleading consumers about its fee structure, with two competition watchdogs in different states sanctioning the company for its advertising practices.

PurpleBricks Australia generated £13.5 million in the year to April — an increase of 285 percent year-over-year. But it spent almost as much as it made on sales and marketing: £11.4 million — up from £3.8 million the previous year.

Losses blew out to £11.8 million — about £2.3 million more than forecasted by JP Morgan.

The company maintains that, based on the number of valuations booked, instructions, and marketing spend as a percentage of sales, “Australia remains ahead of the U.K. in terms of key KPIs.”

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