Taywood has followed the example set by other construction firms who have looked outside the industry for senior executives, including Wilson Connolly, Wates, Carillion and Wimpey, These appointments have met mixed success: Wilson Connolly issued a profit warning last year and other firms' share prices have lagged. The City is still unsure about the trend, with analysts saying the specialist nature of the industry creates problems for outsiders.
But a Taywood spokesperson said Napier's appointment would complement the group's industry expertise in its housebuilding, construction and development divisions.
She said: "Each of our divisions has strong management and expertise but that means Taylor Woodrow requires a strategic thinker at the helm, not necessarily someone who can build a house."
She added that Taywood had looked at candidates from inside and outside the industry.
Hawley welcomed Napier's appointment. He said: "With his extensive commercial background and his detailed knowledge of consumer markets, Iain is ideally qualified to drive Taylor Woodrow forward."
Analysts said they were not surprised that Taywood had looked outside the industry. Peel Hunt analyst Stephen Rawlinson said: "There has been mixed success for outsiders so far but Hawley thinks housebuilding should be run like an industrial process. Sure, there can be some savings by following this but it ignores the fact that a being a good housebuilder is about buying land at the right place and putting the right house on it."
Taywood said its housebuilding division had record forward orders of £180m and that construction orders grew 3% last year compared with 2000, reaching £583m.