Redrow founder to step down:
Chairman returned to the housebuilder to help it out of the financial crisis but will stand down in March
STEVE MORGAN, the veteran chairman and founder of housebuilder Redrow, is standing down 10 years after returning to the company’s board to lead it out of the financial crisis.
Mr Morgan, who founded Redrow in 1974 and is also known for previously owning the Wolverhampton Wanderers football team, will leave in March. He will be replaced by his chief executive John Tutte.
His departure was announced after the company revealed record profits of £380m in September.
Mr Tutte will retain control of his current responsibilities when he becomes executive chairman, in a move that will be likely to aggravate corporate governance campaigners – who believe that chairmen should be hired externally.
A fifth of shareholders voted against fellow housebuilder Crest Nicholson’s decision to appoint its chief executive Stephen Stone as chairman in March.
Robin Hardy, of Shore Capital, said Redrow could come under some pressure to find a non-executive chairman in the long run, but that the handover would also ease governance concerns because of Mr Morgan’s 30pc stake in the company.
He said: “They had a double conflict of interest previously so it’s a bit better than it was.”
Matthew Pratt, currently boss of Redrow’s southern division, will become chief operating officer.
Mr Morgan said that he felt “proud” of what he had achieved at the company, adding: “Since I founded Redrow in 1974 we have had many important milestones.
“Just two weeks ago we completed our 100,000th Redrow home and 2018 will see us complete 6,000 homes in a calendar year for the first time, both significant milestones for Redrow and for me on a personal level.”
In a separate announcement ahead of its annual general meeting yesterday, the housebuilder said it was on track to meet expectations for the year, but warned that sales in the London housing market may be damaged by “excessively high stamp duty and Brexit uncertainty”.
Its warning came as the latest data from lender Halifax revealed that house prices rose at their slowest annual pace in five years last month, with growth falling from 2.5pc in September to 1.5pc. On a monthly basis, prices edged up 0.7pc in October, following two consecutive monthly falls. The average house price is now £227,869.
Meanwhile, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ latest residential market survey showed that a softening in new buyer demand in October had begun to feed into a slightly negative trend for national house prices.