Hipstar chief executive quits

Hipstar’s chief executive Stephen Maskens quit the company last week at the same time as 40% of its staff were given the chop.

The Network Data-owned listed firm confirmed that Maskens had left alongside one other senior member of staff, John McCarthy, and 15 temporary staff. Recruitment has also been put on hold.

The Home Information Pack pro-vider has retained 24 employees and Richard Griffiths, chief executive of Network Data, has taken over Mas-ken’s role until further notice.

Griffiths says: “I had dozens of staff sitting around who weren’t needed. I’ll only need 20% of Hipstar’s workforce from August 1, even if HIPs come to fru-ition, so what else could we do?

“In business there are no certainties and we’re facing up to that. The government’s move on HIPs proved you can never relax.”

He adds: “We don’t know what will happen after August 1, but keeping unnecessary staff is not a viable proposition for any company.”

Jim Gillespie, chairman of the Home Inspectors Organisation, an online forum, says: “The news spread like wildfire on HIP websites and it was obvious the redundant staff weren’t happy. Other providers will have to make redundancies too be-cause the sector is in a mess.

“And what is Hipstar going to do? It’s a franchise, people have spent mon-ey to buy into it, but what’s it going to franchise now?”

Griffiths says: “Hipstar is a wholly-owned subsidiary but franchises out geographical areas for home inspectors to work in. We’ve sold 50% of these areas and are continuing to sell. Those who’ve bought franchises will just have to lump it and wait for August 1.”