Taylor Wimpey chooses inside candidate for CEO in light of activist investor | Taylor Wimpey

Taylor Wimpey has nominated an internal candidate for new chief executive, in a move likely to anger Elliott Advisors, the activist investor who has been pressuring the homebuilder to appoint someone from outside the company.

Jennie Daly’s appointment marks a milestone in the male-dominated industry as Taylor Wimpey becomes the first UK homebuilder to appoint a female chief executive and only the third FTSE 100 company to have a female CEO and female chairman .

Daly, who is the group’s chief operating officer, will succeed Pete Redfern, who led the company for 15 years since becoming the UK’s third-largest homebuilder through the merger of Taylor Woodrow and George Wimpey in 2007.

Chair Irene Dormer said Daly’s skills “set her apart from other candidates we were considering.”

However, the move is likely to trigger a backlash from Elliott, which in December revealed he was one of the company’s top five investors and went public with demands including a search for a new chief executive. .

In a nine-page public letter to Dorner, he said shareholders were “unlikely to support a candidate for CEO who represents an extension of the status quo at Taylor Wimpey.”

“The successor must represent a clean break from the current management team,” Elliott wrote. “While there are talented members of the Taylor Wimpey team, any current leader would represent a continuation of the status quo and share in the loss of trust and credibility with investors.”

Elliott reportedly considered Crest Nicholson chief Peter Truscott, former Persimmon boss Dave Jenkinson or Barratt deputy general manager Steven Boyes as his preferred candidates.

A spokeswoman for Taylor Wimpey said Monday: “We have engaged with all major shareholders on the succession process, including Elliott.”

Elliott has a reputation for fighting aggressive battles over its restructuring targets, which include the Argentine government, mining company BHP, GSK and Telecom Italia.

“Jennie has extensive experience in the homebuilding industry and has demonstrated exceptional leadership and extremely sharp operational focus,” Dorner said. “Her strong focus on execution, combined with her client and people-focused skills, sets her apart from other candidates we are considering.”

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Daly, who joined Taylor Wimpey from Redrow in 2014, will officially take over as chief executive at the company’s annual meeting on April 26. Taylor Wimpey is still looking for two non-executive directors.

In the first half of 2021, the UK’s third-largest homebuilder completed a record number of homes, returned to profit and improved its full-year guidance, which it will report results in March.

Analysts said Elliott was attracted to Taylor Wimpey because of Britain’s housing shortage and the business’s hidden potential, including its land bank, but some believed it needed to improve operational performance. Its shares have fallen by a quarter since February 2020.

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