By Vladimir Guevarra
LONDON—Europe's largest industrial landlord, Segro /zigman2/quotes/205428601/delayed UK:SGRO -3.03% PLC, said Thursday that Finance Director David Sleath will succeed Chief Executive Ian Coull , who will retire April 28 next year.
The appointment comes after Mr. Coull said in October that he will take up a new role as chairman of house builder and construction group Galliford Try /zigman2/quotes/209256748/delayed UK:GFRD +1.45% PLC July 1. Segro Chairman Nigel Rich said the company's search for a replacement for Mr. Coull was extensive and had included internal and external candidates.
Before joining Segro, Mr. Sleath was finance director of automotive engineering group Wagon PLC from 1999 to 2005. From 1982 to 1999, he worked for Arthur Andersen, where he later became a partner and head of audit and assurance for the Midlands.
"Segro has been on a transformational journey over the last eight years under Ian Coull's leadership and I am looking forward to building on this to deliver value to shareholders in the years ahead," said Mr. Sleath, 49 years old.
He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and a non-executive director of Bunzl /zigman2/quotes/201880362/delayed UK:BNZL -2.16% PLC.
Mr. Coull has been CEO of Segro since Jan 1, 2003. During his tenure, he guided the business through one of the most turbulent recessions in decades. He presided over a rights issue, sold Segro's U.S. business at the top of the market in 2007 and bought troubled rival industrial landlord Brixton PLC at the bottom in August 2009 in an all-share deal.
Segro now boasts a portfolio comprising £5.3 billion of predominantly industrial and warehouse assets concentrated in and around major business centers and transportation hubs such as ports, airports and motorways. Segro said a search for a new finance director will start immediately.
Evolution Securities analyst John Cahill said Sleath's appointment is "unequivocally the right decision." He said it was still too early to say what changes Mr. Sleath would introduce to company strategy "but I hope he would be more successful in reducing the vacancy rates from the old Brixton assets ... which has left Segro with an awful lot of work to do."
Its shares closed Wednesday at 297 pence, giving the company a market capitalization of £2.2 billion. The shares have fallen 14% in value since the start of the year.
Write to Vladimir Guevarra at email@example.com