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Intu appoints finance boss as new chief exec

Following a nine month search Intu has appointed its current chief financial officer, Matthew Roberts, as its new chief executive with effect from Monday 29 April 2019.

Roberts, who has been CFO since May 2010,  will succeed David Fischel who will be standing down from the board and leaving intu on Friday 26 April 2019. The board said it appointed Roberts following “a rigorous search process” which included a number of “first class internal and external candidates”

Intu added Roberts has “excellent real estate and retail experience” and “detailed knowledge of intu’s affairs”and is therefore well placed to drive its strategy going forward.

The company, which owns the Trafford Centre in Manchester and Intu Lakeside in Essex,  said this would include adapting fast to the changing retail environment, delivering strong underlying individual centre performance and making smart use of capital, including plans to reduce Intu’s debt to assets ratio to below 50% through disposals, part-disposals and introducing partners to assets.

Since Roberts joined Intu, he has overseen over £1bn of assets having been sold. Prior to joining intu, he was CFO of Gala Coral from 2004 to 2008, leading the acquisition of Coral which resulted in the business becoming the UK’s largest private equity owned company at the time.

Prior to this, he was finance director of Debenhams, managing the company’s successful IPO in 1998 and sale in 2003, and also held senior roles at Topshop/Topman and The Burton Group.

John Strachan, chairman of Intu, said: “David’s substantial contribution to intu’s affairs over many years has been outstanding and he will be greatly missed by the board and all of Intu’s staff. I would like to extend my personal gratitude to David for continuing to steer the group for a longer period than was originally intended until we had completed our succession process. David will leave Intu with our very best wishes.

“Matthew has been an exceptional CFO at Intu. This, combined with his extensive and relevant experience, including his proven expertise in leading strategic transformation projects, means he is absolutely the right person to lead this business going forward.”

Intu also revealed a formal process to recruit a new CFO will “commence imminently” which will include external and internal candidates. In the meantime, the position will be filled on a temporary basis from Intu’s finance team under Robert’s supervision.

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