Tuesday 17 September 2019

Crest Nicholson appoints new chairman amid clean sweep at the top

Iain Ferguson joins as non-executive chairman-designate on September 16 and will take over from Stephen Stone on November 1.

Crest Nicholson has appointed Iain Ferguson as chairman to replace Stephen Stone.
Crest Nicholson has appointed Iain Ferguson as chairman to replace Stephen Stone.

By Holly Williams, PA Deputy City Editor

Crest Nicholson has named Iain Ferguson as its new chairman to replace Stephen Stone when he steps down next month amid a clean sweep at the top of the housebuilding giant.

Mr Ferguson joins as non-executive chairman-designate on September 16 and will take over from Mr Stone on November 1.

Mr Stone – who was formerly chief executive and then executive chairman – stands down on October 31.

Mr Stone’s departure comes after its new chief executive started this week, with former Galliford Try boss Peter Truscott joining on Monday as Crest pursues a fresh strategy.

It is a privilege to have served as chief executive and then chairman of this great company Stephen Stone

Mr Truscott replaced longstanding chief executive Patrick Bergin, who stepped down abruptly in March after 13 years at the company.

The change comes as Crest shifts from growth to cash generation, focusing on partnerships and other joint ventures.

Mr Stone said: “It is a privilege to have served as chief executive and then chairman of this great company and to have worked with many exceptional people to create so much value for shareholders, employees and the communities where we operate.”

Mr Ferguson has held a raft of board-level roles, including chief executive of Tate & Lyle and non-executive chairman of Stobart Group.

Leslie Van de Walle, deputy chairman and senior independent director at Crest Nicholson, said: “I would like to pay tribute to Stephen’s leadership and immense contribution to Crest Nicholson’s success over many years both as chief executive and chairman and as a leader in the industry.

On Mr Ferguson, he added: “His impressive track record makes him ideally suited to lead the next phase of Crest Nicholson’s future.”

Crest recently revealed a drop in half-year profits after coming under pressure from rising build costs and as property price growth stalled.

The group reported an 11% fall in pre-tax profits to £64.4 million for the six months to April 30.

Crest – which has paused its growth strategy due to Brexit uncertainty – said revenues rose 7% to £501.9 million as it was boosted by a shift away from London’s private sales market towards partnerships and joint ventures.

But profit margins were hit by build cost inflation at 3%-4% and “generally” flat pricing in the market, the company said.

In January, Crest reported a 15% tumble in annual profits to £176.4 million, blaming Brexit uncertainties for putting off buyers.

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