Mark Watkin Jones has told the board that, for personal reasons, he can no longer do the job full time. The search for a successor has begun.
Watkin Jones, which specialises in constructing purpose-built student accommodation, made £43.3m pre-tax profit in the year to 30th September 2017 on turnover of £302m. By comparison, the previous year it made £13.3m on £267m revenues.
Watkin Jones raised £130m in March 2016 by floating 45% of the company’s stock on the Alternative Investment Market. This has helped fund an expansion into build-to-rent developments and the acquisition of Fresh Student Living.
Mark Watkin Jones said: "After careful consideration I have decided that it is necessary for me to step back from my position as chief executive officer. The group has reported record results today and with excellent earnings visibility, Watkin Jones is in a strong position to achieve continued success in both student accommodation and build to rent. Solid foundations are in place for my successor to work with, including an excellent management team that has supported me over the years in successfully growing the business and who will continue to drive Watkin Jones forward for the long-term benefit of our shareholders."
Chairman Grenville Turner said: "After 15 successful years at the helm, the board understands Mark's desire to relinquish the CEO position and the associated demands of this role. Mark has played a pivotal part in shaping the Watkin Jones strategy and success and has built an experienced and stable leadership team who have increasingly taken on the day-to-day responsibility for the running of the business."