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Intu names finance chief Roberts as its new CEO

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today Apr 4, 2019
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UK shopping malls giant Intu has named an insider as its new CEO to replace the outgoing David Fischel. Its finance chief Matthew Roberts will take up the top job as of Monday, April 29 with Fischel set to leave the company and to step down from the board the previous Friday.


Intu



The company said it had conducted a "rigorous search process which included a number of first-class internal and external candidates.” But Matthews won after having already spent nine years in the CFO’s role.

Intu said he has “excellent real estate and retail experience and detailed knowledge of Intu's affairs. He is therefore well placed to drive [its] winning destinations strategy which includes adapting fast to the changing retail environment, delivering strong underlying individual centre performance and making smart use of capital, including plans to reduce [the] debt-to-assets ratio to below 50% through disposals, part-disposals and introducing partners to assets.”

As well as a strong track record “of successfully recycling capital, with over £1 billion of assets having been sold since he joined,” he has wide experience of the retail sector in general. Immediately before joining the firm he was CFO of gambling specialist Gala Coral and prior to this, he was Finance Director of Debenhams. He also held senior roles at Topshop/Topman and The Burton Group.

It’s interesting that in two of those roles (Gala Coral and Debenhams), he was instrumental in their sale to private equity and given that Intu itself went through a failed buyout attempt last year, it could mean the board’s thinking is still veering towards this.

Fischel has been with the group since 1985, and Chief Executive since 2001, a period which has included transformative events such as the demerger of Capital & Counties in 2010, the Intu Trafford Centre transaction in 2011 and the rebranding as Intu in 2013. 

Chairman John Strachan praised both execs and said that Roberts “has been an exceptional CFO. This, combined with his extensive and relevant experience, including his proven expertise in leading strategic transformation projects, means he is absolutely the right person to lead this business going forward.”

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