Friday 15 January 2021 9:06 am

Hammerson finance chief James Lenton to step down

Hammerson has announced its chief financial officer James Lenton intends to step down after less than 15 months in the role.

The company, which owns Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre, said it had started looking for Lenton’s replacement but he would continue in his role until then. 

Read more: Hammerson seeks secondary Irish listing amid Brexit worries

Lenton took the role in October 2019, before the retail giant hired Rita-Rose Gagne as its new boss in September. 

“Following the successful completion of the rights issue, VIA Outlets disposal and induction of the new Chair of the Board and CEO, I feel now is the right time to look for a new opportunity,” Lenton said. 

Gagne said: “James was instrumental in navigating and conducting the rights issue and VIA Outlets disposal. I am grateful for his support and commitment to continue until his successor joins. We wish him well for the future.” 

In August Hammerson announced it would tap investors for £551.7m through a rights issue and planned to sell its 50 per cent stake in Via Outlets. 

It was an attempt to stem some of the losses from the low rent collection it had suffered as shops were forced to close amid lockdown restrictions. 

Its rival Intu went into administration last year as it suffered from retailers paying rent in addition to its already high levels of debt. 

Read more: Hammerson to raise £826m amid overhaul of leasing approach

Despite the dire outlook Hammerson last month announced plans for a secondary listing on Euronext Dublin to maintain access to the European market. 

The retail giant owns £1.2bn worth of properties in France as well as £800m in Ireland.