After an exhaustive search for a new chief executive, retirement house-builder McCarthy & Stone has given the job to chief operating officer John Tonkiss.
His first job is to implement a new strategy, focusing not on growth but on return on capital employed (ROCE). The aim is to strip out £40m of annual costs by 2021, improving ROCE to more than 15%, increasing to over 20% by 2023.
The new target is to deliver 2,100 units a year; it was previously 3,000 units a year.
John Tonkiss said: "As the new chief executive officer of McCarthy & Stone, I am pleased to announce our new strategy which represents a shift in business mindset from growth to increasing our return on capital employed and margins. We are positioning the business to succeed in the current challenging market environment and over the next three years, we will be focusing on increasing shareholder returns by optimising our operations to deliver strong financial performance. In parallel, we will also aim to leverage our longer term strategic opportunity to increase our customer appeal, diversify our revenue streams and reduce our exposure to the market cyclicality.”
John Tonkiss had been acting CEO since 1st September, following Clive Fenton's retirement on 31st August 2018 and chief operating officer for four years before that.
McCarthy & Stone said that the decision to promote Mr Tonkiss came only after a formal search process led by chairman Paul Lester, which considered both internal and external candidates.
Paul Lester said: "John brings strong financial and operational expertise resulting from his four years at McCarthy & Stone where he was chief operating officer and his 10 years at Unite Students, where he held the same role.
"John has led the development of our strategic plan that will establish a strong financial platform for the business and which will be launched today.”