Chief executive goes as credit crunch forces developer to focus on just two schemes

Development proposals worth £10bn are to be “put on ice” as regeneration developer Isis slashes staff and reviews its business in the wake of the credit crunch.

Mark Ryder, Isis’ chief executive, is to step down as the developer loses half its staff.

Ryder said the business would now concentrate on pushing through the two developments under construction – the 500-home Islington Wharf in Manchester and the 300-home Granary Wharf in Leeds.

This means the firm’s six other large developments, which contain about 6,500 homes, will be put on hold.

None of the sites have full planning permissions, but all have been worked on for a number of years and some have outline planning consent.

Ryder said: “We feel very saddened to have to take this action, and for the people who’ve left the company, but we’re obviously not alone in having to do this. One of the benefits of our business model is that we are able to effectively put these schemes on ice and pick them up again later on when the market turns round.

“Isis is not insolvent, but the next few years will be a period of retrenchment,” he added.

Ryder, who is to be replaced by Dara Mulcahy, Isis’ finance director, said the six schemes would have a total development value of up to £10bn.

He said his departure from the firm was amicable. In total Isis will reduce its headcount from 20 to 10 staff, most of whom are development managers for the affected schemes. Offices in Glasgow, Birmingham and London will close.

Isis was formed as an offshoot of government canals body British Waterways in 2002, in a joint venture with Muse Developments and regeneration developer Igloo.

The Isis ice-box

The six large developments put on hold are:

  • Commerce Road, Brentford, London: 1,000 flats
  • Hale Wharf, Tottenham Hale, London: 500 homes, 5,000m2 of offices
  • Spiers Locks, Glasgow: 9,000m2 of offices and 250 flats
  • Trent Basin, Nottingham - 2,200 homes
  • Icknield Port Loop, Birmingham: 2,500 new homes
  • Warwick Bar, Birmingham: mixed-use development planned over 1.9 ha