Paul Pedley has stepped down as chief executive of quoted housebuilder Redrow to commit more time to the House Builders Federation.

The surprise announcement was made on Friday last week as Redrow issued a pre-close trading update. Pedley will be replaced on 1 August, his 20th anniversary at the company, by group managing director Neil Fitzsimmons.

Pedley will stay on as Redrow’s executive deputy chairman. He said that he had been discussing the changes with Fitzsimmons for a while. “I’m an avid believer in well-planned succession, and do not believe in not giving responsibility when it has been earned,” he said.

What will come as a surprise to the market is his decision to give more time to the HBF, of which he is already an officer.

He said: “I want to help the HBF because it has created a dialogue with the government but needs the help of the industry to take it forward. You have to support your trade association.”

In April the HBF responded to pressure from members with a strategic review of the way it was run. This led to the dismissal of five members of the 30-strong workforce.

At the time one HBF source told Building: “The review was prompted by the HBF’s desire to be more responsive to the wishes of its members. Some people felt we could be more proactive.” It is thought that Pedley is also keen to shake up the management of the HBF.

Pedley said that he had taken on the role of deputy chairman of Redrow, rather than that of chairman, to avoid “clouding Neil’s responsibilities”. It is a role that he held about 14 years ago, before he became chief executive. He will oversee the development of Redrow’s product range and major land deals.

In the trading update, Redrow said pre-tax profit for the year to 30 June was higher than last year. However, it said that the rate of sales in the future was slightly below the level expected in a “normal market”. “I don’t think the market will change in either direction in 2005,” said Pedley.

Shares in the company rose 12p, or 3%, to 428p after the news on Friday. Housing analysts at ABN Amro described the management changes as logical and sensible.