British Land executives to set up firm

PROPERTY group British Land is set for a boardroom shake-up after it emerged that its star director Andrew Jones was quitting the group, taking two committee members with him to set up a rival firm.<br /><br />Jones, 40, had already confirmed he was considering leaving but his decision to bring on board colleagues Valentine Beresford and Mark Stirling, will mean almost one-third of British Land&rsquo;s executive committee is walking out the door.<br /><br />The departure of Jones, head of the property firm&rsquo;s retail division, could spark further defections from within his close-knit team.<br /><br />Jones was once the bookies&rsquo; favourite for the top role at the head of the firm after Stephen Hester left to take the helm at bailed-out bank Royal Bank of Scotland.<br /><br />But sources close to the situation said that Jones was &ldquo;voting with his feet&rdquo; after the board hired external candidate Chris Grigg.<br /><br />Jones is said to believe that the majority of issues facing British Land are probably more due to its property portfolio than capital problems.<br /><br />Jones was appointed to the executive committee in August 2005 and made an executive director on 14 July 2006. He joined British Land in July 2005 after the company&rsquo;s acquisition of a firm run by property veterans Raymond Mould and Patrick Vaughan, Pillar Property.<br /><br />Mould and Vaughan, now both in their sixties, last month bought &pound;44m worth of property at Arsenal&rsquo;s residential development through their Aim listed firm London &amp; Stamford.<br /><br />British Land yesterday confirmed that its shareholders had voted in favour of the group&rsquo;s sale of its Broadgate Circus complex to Blackstone.