Taylor Wimpey’s Peter Redfern has navigated his firm through lean times, succeeding in his drive to return the housebuilder to a robust state of health

Chief executive of the year

Pete Redfern

Turning a business around in boom times is one thing. Turning one around in the depths of a recession is another - and no mean feat. And no one knows this better than Taylor Wimpey chief executive Pete Redfern. He navigated the firm through some of the toughest years in its history before selling off the US arm at a crucial moment last year. Now, 12 months on, the group is the biggest housebuilder in the UK and the 40-year-old boss is a worthy chief executive of the year. Best known for navigating the group through the 2007 merger of George Wimpey and Taylor Woodrow and facing the resulting combined group’s debt just before the recession, when Taylor Wimpey reported the biggest ever corporate loss by a UK housebuilder - £1.8bn for 2008 - Redfern has had his work cut out for several years. Today, things could not look more different. In July 2011 the £2.6bn-turnover firm concluded the £595m sale of the US arm of the business. which pushed the group back to reporting profitable growth of £75m resulting in analysts picking Taylor Wimpey as their key housing stock. For a time, the youngest ever chief executive of a FTSE 100 company, Redfern is a prime example of a talent able to turn around the fortunes of a multi billion-pound company in the face of real and imminent adversity.