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Derwent London announces changes to the leadership of the Group.

The Hon. Robert Rayne has informed the Board that, after twelve years as Non-Executive Chairman, he will retire at the next Annual General Meeting of the Company on 17 May 2019. He will be succeeded as Non-Executive Chairman by John Burns, the founder and current Chief Executive, for a period of two years. Thereafter, Derwent London intends to appoint an independent Chairman.

The Board has run a thorough process considering internal and external candidates to succeed John Burns as Chief Executive. It has unanimously concluded that Paul Williams, currently Property Director, should be appointed as Chief Executive on 17 May 2019. Paul has been a member of the Board since 1998 having joined the Group in 1987. He is a chartered surveyor and most recently has had overall responsibility for lettings, asset management and the delivery of Derwent London’s substantial development projects.
Following these changes and the previously announced appointment of Lucinda Bell to the Board with effect from 1 January 2019, the Board will comprise the Chairman, seven independent Directors and five Executive Directors. The separate roles of Chief Executive and Chairman are clearly defined. The Company has consulted with its major institutional shareholders who are supportive of these changes.

Robbie Rayne commented: “I am delighted to hand over the chairmanship to John Burns. He has been an outstanding leader of Derwent London as it has grown into the successful business it is today. He has been instrumental in developing our great people, building iconic developments and delivering outstanding long-term financial returns. Our half year performance and recent business update shows continued positive momentum in the business.

The Board values the importance of retaining Derwent London’s strong culture and the extensive experience of its senior management. Paul Williams has been an integral member of the management team with strong strategic, operating and property expertise and has built lasting relationships with our occupiers. He has the knowledge, skills and expertise to lead the business and will do an excellent job as Chief Executive.”

Simon Fraser, Senior Independent Director, commented: “Robbie Rayne has led the Board excellently since the Derwent Valley/London Merchant Securities merger in 2007. The business has gone from strength to strength reflecting the combined heritage of the Group. The Board thanks Robbie for his guidance, wisdom and leadership and we wish him well in his continued focus with LMS Capital and his charitable interests. The decision to appoint John to take over as Chairman from Robbie reflects John’s considerable experience together with his deep understanding of Derwent London’s culture.”

Paul Williams, Property Director, commented: “I am greatly looking forward to leading Derwent London, working with our tremendous team to build on our track record of delivering long-term returns to our shareholders, while delivering benefits for all our other stakeholders. Our focus on fantastic buildings, creating exciting space and developing our strong relationships has underpinned our success and these will remain the hallmarks of our business.”

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