Redrow founder to step down:

Chair­man re­turned to the house­builder to help it out of the fi­nan­cial cri­sis but will stand down in March

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By Jack Tor­rance and So­phie Christie

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.

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