Former Sheffield Wednesday captain Lee Bullen is kicking off a new career in the property business with partner Nicola Spencer.
The couple have set up a new company, Spencer Property Ltd, which this week took over well-established city estate agency Spencers – founded by Nicola’s parents, Jim and Anne.
Jim, who is regional spokesman for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and his wife will phase in a retirement plan over the next few months.But Jim will remain with the agency on a consultancy basis for the next two years.
Nicola knew from an early age that she wanted to follow in her parents’ footsteps: “Running the family business always felt like my destiny,” she admits.
After training, she worked for 12 years as senior valuer and office manager at Spencers.
But when Lee headed back to his native Scotland three years ago, she went with him – combining work with property companies Grant Management and Dickins with a role as secretary for the National Association of Estate Agents Scotland branch.
“The opportunity to relocate to Edinburgh with Lee was right and has been incredibly valuable to learn more about other company policies, strategies, processes, and technologies,” she says.
“Serendipity has played its part within the purchase of the company – I believed I’d missed the boat when the deal was being done with Countrywide for the property management department.
“Sometimes, though, luck, pluck and timing has more to do with anything than strategic planning.”
Lee has a degree in sports media and is best known in Sheffield for his role with the Owls. But he had a full-time career at the Alliance & Leicester before becoming a sporting hero.
He has now left his most recent position as assistant manager of Falkirk FC to take up his new role.
Lee said: “There are many aspects to management of people that are transferable throughout all industries. We are stepping into an established company with values of great integrity, professionalism and tradition.
“Jim Spencer has an enormously respected position within the industry through his work with the RICS, the NAEA and as a spokesperson for the property market within the city; I am looking forward to learning as much as possible from him going forwards.”
Nicola and Lee plan to focus the take-over period, up to Christmas, on research into new technologies, as well as getting information and ideas from staff.
Jim Spencer said: “Anne and I are more than happy to move aside for the new generation to move forwards with mobile websites, iPads, QR codes and all of the exciting new technologies.”