John Callcutt is to retire as chief executive of Crest Nicholson after 14 years at the helm of the company.

He will become deputy chairman of the group on 1 November and Stephen Stone, who has been Crest Nicholson’s chief operating officer since 2003, will take over as chief executive on the same day.

Crest’s chairman John Matthews said of Callcutt’s retirement: “The board is extremely grateful to John Callcutt for the extraordinary contribution he has made during his 31 years with the company, particularly as its chief executive since 1991. We are delighted he will have a continuing role with our group in helping us to develop our urban regeneration strategy.”

Callcutt’s new role will be to promote the group’s position in the realisation of large-scale urban regeneration schemes. He said: “It has been an enormous privilege to lead Crest over the past 14 years and particularly taking the group to the forefront of urban regeneration.”

Callcutt said that two of his priorities in his new role would be to simplify administration within the company and to work against antisocial behaviour in the regeneration areas in which Crest is involved.

We are delighted Callcutt will have a continuing role within our group

John Matthews, chairman, Crest

He has been a high-profile figure in the industry, not least in the last 12 months when he led the firm’s defence against a hostile takeover attempt from property company Heron International, owned by entrepreneur Gerald Ronson. Callcutt refused to open Crest’s books to Heron because he said the indicative offer of £480m significantly undervalued the firm, and Heron was force to withdraw in May.

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