Wednesday 11 September 2019 1:22 pm

Former Stobart chair Iain Ferguson takes charge at house builder Crest Nicholson

Crest Nicholson has installed former Stobart chair Iain Ferguson as its non-executive chairman, as the house builder completes its refurbishment of top-level management.

Ferguson, who will take the post in November, has been appointed just as new chief executive Peter Truscott is set to take the reins at the firm this month.

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“Crest Nicholson is an outstanding company with a passion for not just building homes, but also for creating vibrant sustainable communities,” he said. 

Crest Nicholson said Ferguson had an “impressive track record”.

The house builder has not had an easy ride in recent months, after reporting a fall in profits for the first half of the year as Brexit uncertainty kept house prices flat across the south of England.

That came after it issued its third profit warning in three years in 2018, blaming the difficult market and uncertain political environment.

As a result, the property developer is shifting its business from the high-end, south east England-focused housing market to a focus on partnerships.

Shares in the company rose 3.1 per cent today.

Ferguson will replace Stephen Stone, who has been at the Crest Nicholson since 1995. He became chief executive in 1995 and then chairman in 2018. 

Stone said: “It is a privilege to have served as chief executive and then chairman of this great company.”

Stobart’s boardroom battles

He will likely be hoping for an easier life at Crest Nicholson than at his previous firm, after seeing out a brutal boardroom struggle at Stobart last year

Ferguson thwarted an incendiary attempt to kick him out of his post by the company’s former chief executive Andrew Tinkler, who had hoped to install billionaire retail magnate Philip Day instead.

Tinkler, who Stobart accused of leading an unlawful conspiracy against the company, was narrowly defeated in a shareholders’ vote.

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Then, in February this year, Stobart claimed another victory in a separate case, after the High Court found Tinkler had acted in breach of his fiduciary duties during his campaign to oust Ferguson.

But the judge also ruled that Stobart had not managed to establish its claim against Tinkler that he had launched an unlawful conspiracy to topple its board. The judge also found that Stobart’s dismissal of Tinkler was lawful.