Gerry Fitzjohn has become chief operating officer for the company running The Property Ombudsman Scheme with effect from January 1.
Fitzjohn became vice-chairman of the operating company in 2010, assisting chairman and chief operating officer Bill McClintock.
Fitzjohn came onto the board of the company in 2000 when Countrywide, of which he was already a director, joined what was then the Ombudsman for Estate Agents. That move brought 725 Countrywide offices under the Ombudsman's jurisdiction and helped boost the number covered by the scheme to 4,221 by the end of 2000 from the 2,750 at the start of that year.
At the beginning of 2012, TPO covers 14,006 offices operated by 8,280 member firms. It recruited its 1000th member firm only at the start of 2005.
McClintock notched up a half century in estate agency in 2009 but with 38 years' agency experience behind him Fitzjohn is hardly a new boy to the industry. McClintock said that Gerry Fitzjohn's experience would be invaluable in supporting estate agency members of TPO as the scheme sought to expand into other property-related areas.
'TPO has become the largest residential sales and lettings membership body within the UK property industry but there is still scope for growth, particularly in the lettings sector,' explained Fitzjohn.
'My role will be to take over the affairs of the company while Bill McClintock concentrates on new areas to help spread operating costs over a broader membership base going forward.
'There has been a huge rise in membership during the last 12 years thanks to hard work from Bill and the current Ombudsman, Christopher Hamer, and they have also made great strides in improving professional standards through developing our Codes of Practice.'
Bill McClintock will continue in his role as board chairman of the TPO operating company, a post he has held since a year after he became chief operating officer in 2003, with Gerry Fitzjohn continuing as his deputy.
Lord Richard Best, chairman of the independent council which oversees TPO, said the industry was fortunate in having two such experienced people helping improve standards and dedicate so much time to running TPO.
'Both Bill McClintock and Gerry Fitzjohn are tireless in their efforts for TPO and the wider industry,' he added. 'They bring a great deal to TPO at a time when some of their contemporaries would be happy to take a back seat and I personally value the contribution they make to the smooth running of the scheme.'