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Shopping centre owner Landsec hires new chief to tackle retail woes

By Henry Saker-Clark, PA City Reporter

Shopping centre owner Landsec has announced plans to appoint a new chief executive, a week after challenges in the retail sector dragged it to a half-year loss.

The group, whose portfolio includes Trinity Leeds in West Yorkshire and Westgate Oxford, said that Mark Allen, current chief executive at St Modwen Properties, will lead the business.

Landsec said current chief executive Robert Noel will continue in his role for “the time being”, and a further announcement will confirm his exit date.

Mr Allen will take over the position and become an executive director “no later than June 1” next year, but his start date is still to be confirmed.

He has led regeneration specialist St Modwen Properties since November 2016. Before that he was chief executive of student accommodation firm Unite Group for 10 years.

Cressida Hogg, chairman of Landsec, said: “I am delighted to announce that Mark is to join Landsec as our next CEO.  Mark has been a highly successful CEO of two companies in the property sector.

“He has demonstrated strong management skills and the strategic insights that we believe will build on the strengths of our business today and be invaluable for the next phase of Landsec’s evolution.

“I would also like to restate the board’s appreciation to Rob for his successful leadership of Landsec as CEO and his continued commitment to the business.”

The appointment comes at a testing period for retail property owners such as Landsec, with the company reporting a £368 million hit to the value of its properties due to woes in the retail sector in its half-year figures last week.

The company blamed the spate of high-profile retail failures and rescue deals for a 2.8% fall in the value of its properties, to £13.4 billion in the six months to September 30.

The company, formerly known as Land Securities, also warned that conditions in the sector remain tough, and said the snap General Election and Brexit delay to January 31 will add to the pressure.

Mr Allen said: “Landsec is an iconic property company with a fantastic heritage and I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead it.

“The world of real estate is undergoing significant change and I am confident, with the skills and experience already in place, that great opportunities lie ahead.

“I am looking forward to working with everyone at Landsec, the board and its partners and customers.”