intu appoints CFO to replace David Fischel as CEO

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intu appoints CFO to replace David Fischel as CEO

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Published Date: 2019-04-05 | Source: Stephen Gunnion | Author: Stephen Gunnion

intu appoints CFO to replace David Fischel as CEO

CFO Matthew Roberts will try to revive the shopping centre operator after a tough year and a number of abandoned takeover bids.

intu Properties has promoted chief financial officer Matthew Roberts to CEO, replacing David Fischel who stands towards the end of the month. Roberts has been CFO since May 2010 and takes the top post following a tough year for the shopping centre owner after two abandoned takeover bids.

Last July, intu said Fischel, who had been planning to step down if a merger with rival Hammerson took place, would still depart after 18 years in the role once a replacement had been found. Hammerson scrapped its bid for intu a year ago, while a second takeover by a consortium of investors was abandoned in November due to weak fundamentals for UK retail property, partly due to Brexit.

intu said with strong real estate and retail experience and detailed knowledge of intu's affairs, Roberts was well placed to drive the group's 'winning destinations' strategy which includes adapting to the changing retail environment, delivering strong underlying performances from its individual entries and making smart use of capital. The group aims to reduce its debt to assets ratio to below 50% through disposals, part-disposals and introducing partners to some of its assets. Roberts had overseen the sale of £1 billion of assets since joining intu, it said.

Prior to joining intu, Roberts was CFO of gaming and casino group Gala Coral and was previously finance director at department store Debenhams. He also had senior roles at Top Shop/Top Man and The Burton Group.

intu's debt-to-assets ratio swelled to 53.1% in the year to end-December from 45.2%. It scrapped its final dividend for the year and cautioned that there may be no dividend this year either as it retains cash to invest in new properties and pay down debt.

The group said it would now start a formal process to recruit a new CFO.

Its shares fell 1.9% to R19.36 yesterday.





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