John McCarthy, co-founder of McCarthy & Stone, declined the chance to chair Churchill Retirement Living, a niche housebuilding firm run by his two sons.

McCarthy joined the company as a non-executive director at the start of the month but his son Spencer wanted him to be more involved and offered him the chairmanship. The appointment came two months after McCarthy sold his stake in McCarthy & Stone.

Spencer is currently chairman and group managing director and would have reverted to the latter role. McCarthy’s other son, Clinton, also shares the managing director title, but is principally responsible for the construction side of the business.

McCarthy said he rejected the chairmanship because he no longer wanted to commit his life fully to business. As a non-executive director, McCarthy will concentrate on a three-to-five-year plan, in which time he hopes to grow the business to 260 unit sales a year. The firm aims to expand in the Midlands, the South-west and East Anglia.

In an interview with Building this week, McCarthy and his sons criticised the McCarthy & Stone board. Last year the board rejected a bid from John McCarthy, its then chairman, and his sons.

McCarthy said that much of the board was too old and should have made room for younger blood. He said: “The age of the board is a bit over the top.”

Keith Lovelock, McCarthy & Stone chief executive who is 64, like McCarthy, said: “I’m not at retirement age yet and we have a policy of not discriminating against age. There are succession plans in place, but we don’t want to disclose them yet.”

Under the terms of the proposed takeover, McCarthy & Stone would have been taken private. Spencer would have replaced Lovelock as chief executive and Clinton would have joined the board, which would have had a new finance director .

The board rejected the offer, believed to have been roughly £5 a share, after deciding that it undervalued the company.