Wednesday 7 October 2020 3:30 pm

UK property firms refresh boardrooms to survive coronavirus crisis

UK property firms have overhauled their leadership teams during the last six months as the sector grapples with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the latest reserach.

Boardroom changes at listed real estate firms have accelerated 46 per cent to 19 in the last six months, up from 13 executive changes during the same period last year. 

Analysis showed that boardroom shake-ups have occurred more frequently at smaller companies. 

There were a total of 21 board changes at AIM-listed UK property firms during the period, compared to just two in 2019. 

New Street Consulting Group, which conducted the research, said that businesses have been forced to reshuffle their leadership teams as they restructure due to the Covid-19 crisis.

The rental income of commercial property companies has been slashed during the pandemic as many tenants have struggled to pay up. 

According to the New Street analysis, UK listed property companies collected just 67 per cent of rent  due during the June quarter.

Meanwhile firms that are focused on the struggling retail and leisure sector received 54 per cent of the rent due.

Property giants British Land and Hammerson are among the firms to have made significant executive changes within the last few years. 

British Land’s boss Chris Grigg announced in September that he was leaving the firm, while Hammerson’s chief executive David Atkins stepped down in May.

New Street Consulting Group chief executive Doug Baird said: “The Covid crisis has hit the commercial property sector harder than almost any other, leading many property firms to view a refresh in the boardroom as essential.

“Property companies are keen to ensure they have the right leadership teams in place to help them weather the storm.

“Additional expertise in the boardroom could be critical in ensuring any property business is as well-placed as possible to mitigate the impact of any future lockdown and a further economic recession.”