Persimmon’s CEO signalled his intention to step down today just over a year after replacing the housebuilder’s former boss Jeff Fairburn, who left in 2018 amid outrage over a huge £75m bonus.
Group chief executive Dave Jenkinson will depart “in due course”, he said today as Persimmon revealed a drop in 2019 profit as it sought to improve construction quality.
Jenkinson, a 23-year veteran of the housebuilder who became interim CEO in November 2018, said he would stay on until a successor is found.
“I’m very pleased with the progress that we’ve made over the last year in reshaping Persimmon’s approach and culture while at the same time maintaining our operational momentum,” he said.
“Persimmon is an outstanding business with a strong balance sheet and a great team of talented and dedicated people who mean a great deal to me. I will remain fully committed to both the CEO role and to our programme of change until my last day in the job.”
Persimmon revealed a 4.5 per cent slip in profit before tax to £1.04bn and a squeeze on its underlying housing operating margin, which fell from 30.8 per cent in 2018 to 30.3 per cent.
That came as Persimmon focused on improving the quality of homes and customer satisfaction following a review published in December.
Meanwhile, Persimmon sold four per cent fewer homes than in 2018 to total 15,855 at an average price of £215,709.
Basic earnings per share also slipped from 283.3p in 2018 to 266.8p for last year.
Persimmon will pay a final dividend of 110p per share for 2019.
What Persimmon said
Outgoing boss Dave Jenkinson said:
I’m very pleased with the progress that we’ve made over the last year in reshaping Persimmon’s approach and culture while at the same time maintaining our operational momentum.
Persimmon is an outstanding business with a strong balance sheet and a great team of talented and dedicated people who mean a great deal to me. I will remain fully committed to both the CEO role and to our programme of change until my last day in the job.
Improving build quality and the service delivered to our customers were our top priorities throughout 2019. Putting customers before volume is at the heart of our customer care improvement plan and, as a result, new home legal completion volumes were four per cent lower year on year.
Having commissioned the Independent Review in April, we were clear that we would not delay action until its completion in December and were engaged on a broad range of customer service and quality improvement initiatives throughout the year. We are confident these initiatives will add to our momentum this year.
Persimmon’s results for 2019 reflect our focus on offering attractively priced new homes for all, where housing need is greatest across the UK. I am proud of the enthusiasm and dedication with which the whole Persimmon team is making the many changes necessary to achieve higher levels of quality and service to our customers.
We continue to invest in our teams, systems, and our off-site manufacturing capabilities to support the Group’s further sustainable development.
I am pleased with the headway we have made in 2019 and determined that we will make further progress with these initiatives in 2020. Persimmon is in a strong position for the future supported by the group’s talented teams, healthy forward sales, strong forward build and robust balance sheet.