MWB boss toasts exit for winery after 30 years

MANY companies praise their outgoing boss as irreplaceable but in the case of Richard Balfour-Lynn, who is leaving the top of MWB after 30 years, it appears to be true.

The property investment firm has no immediate plans to replace Balfour-Lynn, 58, (pictured), who yesterday announced he will step down as chief executive of MWB Group Holdings at the end of the month.

It will rely instead on its two divisional chief executives to run hotel chains Malmaison and Hotel du Vin and a serviced offices business. They will report to chairman Eric Sanderson, who yesterday praised Balfour-Lynn as an “exceptional entrepreneur”.

Balfour-Lynn, who will retain his 10 per cent stake, said: “This has been a hard decision for me as I have been with MWB Group most of my working life. I will remain a committed and supportive shareholder.”

The entrepreneur set up Warwick Balfour Properties, a central London commercial and residential property development and investment company, in 1982 after graduating from City of London Business School.

MWB followed 12 years later and Balfour-Lynn now feels he wants a break.

He will devote more time to his Hush Heath wine estate, in Kent, which aims to create “English pink sparkling wine to rival the finest from Champagne”.