Penn named as Knight Frank’s new head of London sales as Clarke steps down


Agency praises 'remarkable leader' James Clarke, who was recently diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.

Knight Frank has announced that its Head of London Sales, James Clarke, is stepping down from his role after two and a half years.

Clarke was recently diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, an incredibly rare condition with only 1,100 people diagnosed each year. MND is, as yet, an incurable disease which damages and attacks the nerves, stopping signals from the brain reaching the muscles.

Knight Frank said it would fully support him as he spends this year fundraising to help others with MND and is encouraging colleagues and friends across the property industry to take part in forthcoming fundraising challenges. Any funds raised will go to ‘My Name’5 Doddie’, the charity founded by Doddie Weir OBE, one of rugby’s most recognisable personalities who also suffers from Motor Neurone Disease.

Clarke has been “incredibly successful” at the helm of the London sales division, said the agency, leading a record-breaking performance in the 21-22 financial year, with offices across the network producing their best performance to date.

Rory Penn, who set up KF’s now-global Private Office in 2018, has been named as his successor, and will be stepping up on 4th July. He will also become Chair of the firm’s Private Office, which is based on Baker Street and caters for the agency’s wealthiest clients.

Rory Penn

Tim Hyatt, Head of Residential at Knight Frank: “It is with great sadness we announce that James Clarke will be stepping down as Head of London Sales, following his diagnosis of Motor Neurone Disease (MND) earlier in the year. James has been a remarkable leader of the London business and a true asset to the firm, he is now admirably focusing his time in raising awareness of MND, something of which our partners, friends and family are fully supporting.

“James will be succeeded by Rory Penn, a well-known, leading figure across both the Private Client and London markets.

“Rory will take on the role of Head of London Sales with immediate effect and also assume the position of Chair of the Private Office. Under Rory’s leadership, with the full support of the residential management team, I have no doubt our London business will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Main image: Rory Penn