Tuesday 26 March 2019 8:13 am

Galliford Try boss leaves to revive struggling housebuilder Crest Nicholson

Housebuilder Crest Nicholson’s shares soared this morning as it announced its chief executive is to be replaced by the boss of rival construction firm Galliford Try.

Crest, whose profits fell 15 per cent last year as Brexit uncertainty hurt its core high-end market, parts ways with CEO Patrick Bergin at the firm’s annual general meeting today after 13 years with him at the helm.

Read more: Galliford tries to shake Aberdeen bypass project as profits rise

Peter Truscott, who steps down from his job at Galliford Try with immediate effect, will come into the role in September, with current board director Chris Tinker stepping in for the intervening months.

Truscott has been brought in to capitalise on his track record of holding margins in tricky markets, first at Taylor Wimpey then at Galliford. He oversaw a margin improvement from 15.6 per cent to 20.7 per cent at Galliford Try's housebuilding brand Linden Homes during his three-and-a-half years in charge.

Crest Nicholson shares rose eight per cent in early morning trading, as shareholder where optimistic Truscott can lead a change in strategy. 

The housebuilder plans to pivot from the high-end, south east England-focused housing market to an approach which focuses more on partnerships, after a new framework introduced by Homes England which makes it easier for public and private sector to work together on building houses.

Galliford Try issued a curt trading update this morning in which chairman Peter Ventress made scant reference to Truscott’s three-and-a-half years at the top apart from thanking him for his contribution.

“We wish him well in his new role,” added Ventress.

Galliford Try’s shares fell 2.9 per cent this morning, as it announced its finance boss Graham Prothero would replace Truscott on a permanent basis. Andrew Duxbury, finance director at Linden Homes, will step into his place and joins the board with immediate effect.

Stephen Stone, Crest Nicholson chairman, said: “Peter is highly experienced at delivering a broad range of housing needs to customers working with local authorities, housing associations as well as private homebuyers.

Read more: Housebuilder Crest Nicholson announces profit warning and finance boss exit

“This, together with his operational and public company experience, will bring strong additional expertise to our team.”

Truscott will receive £650,000 a year in his new job, which could rise to as much as £1.46m through bonuses.