Retirement homes specialist McCarthy & Stone is unlikely to appoint a chief executive for at least nine months.
Chairman and chief executive Keith Lovelock had said he would relinquish the latter role "in due course" but it was unclear when a successor would be named.

Finance director Matthew Thorne said that a replacement would not be made until fresh guidance on the make-up of corporate boards was issued next year.

An appointment would then be made in the run-up to the company's annual general meeting, this time next year.

The news emerged after McCarthy & Stone announced a 54% increase in annual pre-tax profit, breaking through the £100m barrier.

The firm made £116m in the 12 months to 31 August, from a turnover of £255.1m. Turnover in 2002 was £188.1m. The results mark a decade of continuous growth at McCarthy & Stone.