Sir Stuart Hampson has announced plans to step down as chairman of The Crown Estate, one of the UK's biggest landlords, after six years in the role.
Hampson, a former civil servant and chairman of John Lewis for 14 years, took responsibility for the Crown Estate in 2010 during a difficult year, when its portfolio lost value for the first time in seven years.
Under his watch the company, which pays its profit to the treasury, has returned £1.5bn since 2010 and enjoyed record profits of £285m last year – up 6.7 per cent on 2014.
Its vast portfolio of assets, which include the UK's entire sea bed and London's Regent Street, has increased by 73 per cent in value over the last six years and is now worth £11.5bn.
The Exchequer Secretary, Damian Hinds said: “Sir Stuart’s insight and experience has been invaluable. During his six years, he and his team have visibly transformed The Crown Estate from a traditional landed estate to a modern progressive commercial business. Sir Stuart has given outstanding public service securing £1.5bn for the nation’s finances during his Chairmanship.”
Hampson will retire in the summer and The Crown Estate said it is now advertising for a new chairman, who will be appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister. The Queen receives 15 per cent of profits under the sovereign support act.
Sir Stuart Hampson said: “It’s been an enormous privilege to hold one of the best jobs in real estate over the last few years. I’m tremendously proud of what has been achieved by Alison (Nimmo, chief executive) and her team, to deliver world leading business and retail destinations, drive investment in the UK’s renewable energy industry, actively manage one of the nation’s largest rural land portfolios – and ultimately deliver valuable returns to the public finances.