This article was first published on Activist Insight Online on December 10, 2021. For more information about the product, click here.
Activist investor Elliott Management has outlined the skills it believes the incoming Taylor Wimpey chief executive should have, after the company announced the retirement of Peter Redfern earlier this week. Elliott suggested that two extra independent directors should be considered as well.
In a Friday open letter, Elliott said the company has “extraordinary potential,” but the incumbent board has made multiple missteps over the last few years. The activist was critical of management’s large-sites strategy, an equity raise in 2020, and underperformance compared to peers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Elliott stated it is a top-five shareholder in the company, but the size of its holding was not disclosed.
“Taylor Wimpey’s share price does not reflect the considerable potential of its business. We believe this share-price underperformance is primarily due to the collapse in investor confidence in the company’s leadership in recent years, the aforementioned strategic failings, together with a history of overpromising and under-delivering,” said Elliott.
To turn things around, Elliott suggested the process to find a new CEO should be “transparent and thorough” and “must focus on external candidates who have not been party to the underperformance to date.”
The candidate needs a deep operational knowledge, an established track record in the U.K., credibility with the investor base, and the ability to develop their own successor, according to Elliott. “In addition, to give the next CEO the best chances of success, we believe Taylor Wimpey’s board should be enhanced with the addition of at least two new independent directors and the formation of a new committee of the board to advise on operations,” added the activist.
Outgoing CEO Redfern took the job after leading the merger of Taylor Woodrow and George Wimpey in 2006 and will stay on until his successor is named.
Shares in Taylor Wimpey were down marginally to 168.30 pence per share as of 3:19 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time Friday.