John Theakston, the chief executive of Swan Hill, will take up to a year off work once his departure from the housebuilder is confirmed later this month
Theakston and his board were ousted in November, after Raven Mount, another management team, made an offer of £47.8m for the company.

This offer was accepted by 52% of the company's shareholders. Last week the board recommended to the remainder that they should accept the offer.

Theakston, who is 52, feels he is too young to retire. He said: "I'm going to take six to 12 months off. I don't want to rush into things – I've only had one three-week holiday in the past 30 years."

Theakston added that he would consider returning to housebuilding: "It's a possibility. After all, it's what I've done for the past 18 years."

The Swan Hill board was angered by the speed of Raven Mount's hostile takeover bid. Less than 24 hours after it made its offer, it had received the irrevocable backing of four institutional investors holding more than half of Swan Hill's shares.

Raven Mount's coup succeeded because it convinced the investors that they could get greater value out of the company than the incumbent management. The firm had been struggling with the downturn in the South-east housing market.

In a statement, Swan Hill said: "The board is disappointed that four Swan Hill shareholders accepted the offer on the day following its announcement, before the board and management of Swan Hill had an opportunity to explore alternative routes, including alternative offers, which may have created greater value and certainty for all Swan Hill shareholders."

The bid, led by residential property entrepreneur Anton Bilton, will mean the company's name will become Raven Mount, and it will be moved from the stock exchange to the alternative investment market. An AIM listing would mean that the company would be under less regulatory pressure than if it retained its listing on the stock exchange.

Swan Hill released a trading statement last week. It said that the full-year results would be "significantly below" its 2002 figures.

The statement added: "The premium housing market has remained difficult within Swan Hill's areas of operation, with sales and trading falling below the board's earlier expectations."