Chief executive John Theakston takes charge of housing and plans to give it higher profile after managing director David Truslove resigns.

Swan Hill has undergone a senior management shake-up following the resignation of its managing director of housing, David Truslove, two weeks ago.

The move will see group chief executive John Theakston tighten his control over the £70m-turnover company’s housing operation.

Theakston, 48, said the departure of Truslove, who had been in the post almost four years, had allowed the company to put in place a more cost-effective use of resources.

He also said that the shake-up will lead to a simpler management structure and would reflect the company’s plan to reduce its exposure to commercial property development and become a pure housebuilder.

Theakston said: “Over the past two years, we have been coming back out of commercial property, realising that capital and investing it into the housing divisions. We are two-thirds of the way through that process, and within 12 months we will be solely housebuilders.”

Theakston, who will now oversee housing, is relocating to the group’s Staines office. Colin Archer, Swan Hill’s finance director, will take on direct responsibility for the statutory and management accounting of the housing business, and commercial director Richard Hough will be given a wider commercial role in the management of housing.

Swan Hill, which was spun out of Higgs & Hill three years ago, has long been seen as a takeover target by the City because of its small size.

In the past two weeks, the company has bought back 832 381 of its shares at 75p. Over the past 15 months, it has bought back about £7m of shares, or 12% of its equity, and could well buy back up to £8m more depending on the shares’ performance.

The shares closed last Friday at 77p, valuing the company at £46m.

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