Hammerson hires new chief financial officer

UK retail-focused REIT Hammerson has appointed James Lenton as chief financial officer (CFO) and executive director.

Lenton will join the firm as of September 16, replacing outgoing CFO Timon Drakesmith on October 1, following a handover period. Drakesmith announced his intention to leave the company in May.

A chartered accountant, Lenton recently left global insurer and investment business AIG, which he originally joined in 2013 as deputy CFO for EMEA. In 2014 he was promoted to CFO and board member of AIG’s European Group. Prior to AIG, he worked at EY.

'We look forward to welcoming James to the business. During his career he has demonstrated significant success in working with and managing complex organisations which are experiencing periods of substantial change,' said David Tyler, chair of the board.

'We expect his track record in this area, combined with his ability to bring a fresh perspective, to be very valuable to the on-going management and performance of Hammerson,' Tyler added.

Analyst Goodbody notes that Lenton's new role will not be exactly the same as the outgoing CFO’s, given that Lenton will not manage the premium outlets business (27% of property portfolio), with Simon Travis (group investment director) having this responsibility added to his brief, according to the same announcement.

Lenton will be paid a £430k salary, in-line with that offered to group management employees.

'Overall, it is welcome to see an external candidate of a seemingly high calibre being appointed to the role, which can be interpreted as a vote of confidence in the outlook for the business,' a Goodbody analyst said. 'With the incoming CFO having experience in driving new sources of profitability, and financing strategies (one of the main head winds facing HMSO) as well as business transformation, we see today’s announcement as being welcomed by investors.'

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