Peter Truscott to retire with replacement arriving from Persimmon later this year

Crest Nicholson has appointed Persimmon’s chief operating officer Martyn Clark as its new chief executive as the firm saw profit slump more than two thirds in its latest set of annual results.

The housebuilder said Clark, who has spent nine years at Persimmon, will join the firm later in the year, replacing former Galliford Try boss Peter Truscott who is retiring after five years in the role.

The rejig comes as the firm posted a pre-tax profit of £41.4m in the year to October 2023, down 70% from a £138m profit the year before on turnover 28% lower at £658m.

peter truscott

Peter Truscott will leave later this year after joining Crest in 2019 from Galliford Try

Crest said the fall in profit was due to a combination of “challenging trading conditions” and unexpected extra costs.

As previously announced, it has incurred an extra £11m in ‘incremental build costs’ relating to its 239-home Brightwells Yard scheme in Farnham, Surrey, after it was hit by delays.

And it has recorded a charge of £13m to cover a legal claim the firm received relating to a fire in a low-rise block built by the group in 2021. This is separate from the £144.8m set aside for building safety remediation.

Crest Nicholson completed 2,020 homes in the year, down 26% on the 2,734 reported for the previous year.

>>See also: Top 50 Housebuilders 2023

>>See also: UK housebuilding recession: How much worse is it going to get?

Truscott, who turns 62 in June, said that due to supply chain issues in late 2022, Crest Nicholson “commenced the new financial year with a lower build position than originally planned” but added that build activity had been “normalised” by the year end.

He added: “The combination of challenging trading conditions and incremental cost movements associated with Farnham and other legacy low-margin sites have led to a disappointing set of results in FY23.

“We have proactively streamlined the business to align with the challenging trading environment and have taken decisive measures to address operational challenges associated with Farnham and other legacy sites, implementing strategies to control costs and ensure a more precise and feasible path towards projects completion.”

Crest Nicholson has already merged its East Anglia and Eastern divisions to cut costs and is expected to streamline its operations further to reduce administrative costs by £3m this year.

The firm’s total land pipeline as of 31 October was 33,752, down on the 36,700 recorded the previous year.