Humberts has appointed former Countrywide finance director Michael Nower as interim chief executive.

Nower also joins the board of the estate agents, which is considering a takeover bid, as a non-executive director.

Humberts, which is 20% owned by Vincent Tchenguiz, has seen its share price drop by 70% in the last few weeks following two profit warnings and the departure of chairman Tim James and CEO Max Ziff.

Executive chairman John McLean said of Nower: ‘He has a complete understanding of property services which, together with his financial experience, will be a great asset in developing a future strategy for our business. His presence on the board will ensure that we continue to benefit from his expertise once a new chief executive has been recruited.’

Nower, who will be paid in Humberts shares depending on the performance of the company, said: ‘These are challenging times for the property market, but I welcome this opportunity to help drive the strategy for this truly multi-disciplinary business.’

Shares were trading at 12.25p today on the back of the news.