Hammerson chief executive set to step down

Hammerson chief executive David Atkins is set to resign, as the shopping centre owner faces cashflow problems stemming from Coronavirus shop closures.

He will remain in the post until the spring of 2021 at the latest to allow a search for his successor to be conducted.

Atkins first joined Hammerson in 1998, focusing on overseas transactions. In 2002, he was promoted to the UK retail parks portfolio, and in 2006 to the wider UK retail portfolio.

Atkins was then appointed to the board in 2007 and has been chief executive since 2009.

“The current environment, exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19, is undoubtedly the most challenging we have faced as a business," he stated. “I feel now is the right time to search for a new chief executive, a person who can not only lead the business as we emerge from this period, but also into its next chapter.”

Rental income was falling prior to the pandemic - down 11.2 per cent to £308.5 million last year, while full-year adjusted profit fell 10.9 per cent to £214 million.

Hammerson received 37 per cent of the rent it was owed across its UK centres for the second quarter ending 25 March.

The owner of Birmingham’s Bullring, London’s Brent Cross, Cabot Circus in Bristol, Highcross in Leicester and Victoria Gate in Leeds also had to deal with the recent collapse of a £400 million deal to sell seven of its retail parks to private equity firm Orion.

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