Troubled UK shopping centre owner and manager intu has appointed Matthew Roberts as chief executive with effect from April 29, replacing David Fischel, who tendered his resignation last summer.
Roberts is currently intu's chief financial officer, after joining the board in May 2010, and has been responsible for an asset recycling programme that has generated over £1 bn for the firm.
Fischel, who had been at the helm of intu since 2001 and joined the company in 1985, resigned from the post after intu's merger with Hammerson fell through last April. He has initially planned to step down once the takeover had been successfully completed.
At the time, Fischel pledged to remain in the role until a new chief executive could be found. He has agreed to leave on April 26.
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.'
Prior to joining intu, Roberts was chief financial officer of Gala Coral from 2004 to 2008. Prior to this, he was finance director of Debenhams, managing the company’s IPO in 1998 and sale in 2003, and also held senior roles at Top Shop/Top Man and The Burton Group.
'Matthew has been an exceptional CFO at intu,' Strachan added. '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 said formal process to recruit a new chief financial officer would commence imminently, and was likely to include external and internal candidates. In the meantime, the position will be filled on a temporary basis from intu’s finance team under Roberts' supervision.
The firm, currently the largest owner and manager of prime shopping centres in the UK, also missed out on another merger opportunity in the autumn when a consortium led by US investor Brookfield stepped back from a putative takeover.