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Watkin Jones plc (WJG)

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Friday 18 May, 2018

Watkin Jones plc

Appointment of Chief Executive Officer

RNS Number : 4998O
Watkin Jones plc
18 May 2018

For immediate release

18 May 2018



Watkin Jones plc

('Watkin Jones' or the 'Group')


Appointment of Chief Executive Officer


Further to the announcement made on 15 January 2018, regarding Mark Watkin Jones' decision to stand down from the Board as the Group's Chief Executive Officer, the Board of Watkin Jones is pleased to announce that following a comprehensive formal search process, Richard Simpson has been appointed to succeed Mark Watkin Jones as CEO.  Richard will be joining Watkin Jones from Unite Group plc ('Unite'), the FTSE250 manager and developer of purpose-built student accommodation, where he was Group Property Director.  Richard will join the Board of Watkin Jones as CEO effective on 2 January 2019.


Outgoing Watkin Jones CEO, Mark Watkin Jones has re-iterated his commitment to provide ongoing support to the Group as CEO for as long as is needed, and upon Richard's formal start date, to work with Mr Simpson during a transitional period to ensure an orderly handover.


Richard Simpson, has significant experience in the student accommodation market having joined Unite in 2005.  During his time at Unite, Mr Simpson held a number of senior roles and, in January 2012, was appointed to the main board as an Executive Director.  Richard's most recent role at Unite was as the Group's Property Director, where Richard was responsible for all aspects of Unite's property portfolio.  Richard was also previously Chair of the British Property Federation's cross-sector Student Accommodation Committee from 2013-2015.  He is currently Non-Executive Director of CityWest Homes, a London based social housing company.  Richard's track record and experience in the sector will be invaluable to the Group as it continues to grow and deliver shareholder returns.


Grenville Turner, Chairman of Watkin Jones plc, said: "The Board is delighted to announce the appointment of Richard Simpson as CEO.  We are pleased to be appointing a CEO with FTSE 250 Board experience as well as a highly recognised industry figure with an immense track record and credibility.  He is well known to the Watkin Jones Board having worked closely with the business on several occasions.  We look forward to a long and prosperous period with Richard at the helm of what is a growing business."


Mark Watkin Jones, Chief Executive of Watkin Jones plc, said: "I am extremely pleased that I will be handing over my CEO responsibilities to such an experienced and recognised operator in the sector.  Richard's knowledge and first-hand experience of the PBSA sector is significant for the Group.  I will do what needs to be done to ensure a smooth handover, and I will work closely with Richard during the transition period.  I strongly believe I am handing over stewardship of Watkin Jones to the right candidate as the Group enters the next phase of its growth."


Commenting on his appointment, Richard Simpson, said: "Watkin Jones has a well earned reputation as one of the UK's leading developers with an unrivalled focused expertise across PRS from build to rent to student accommodation development and management.  I am excited by the prospect of working with the Board, senior management and staff to build on the Group's strong foundations and to lead the business in the continued execution of its strategy."


AIM disclosures

Richard Charles Simpson, aged 42, currently holds or has held the following directorships and partnerships in the last five years:

Current directorships/partnerships

Past directorships/partnerships


CityWest Homes Limited



LDC (AIB Warehouse) Limited

LDC (Alscot Road) Limited

LDC (Brunel House) Limited

LDC (Capital Cities) Limited

LDC (Causewayend) Limited

LDC (Chaucer House) Limited

LDC (Constitution Street) Limited

LDC (Cowley) Limited

LDC (Far Gosford) Limited

LDC (Ferry Lane) Limited

LDC (Ferry Lane 2) Holdings Limited

LDC (Finance) Limited

LDC (Greetham Street) Limited

LDC (Hampton Street) Limited

LDC (Holdings) Limited

LDC (Imperial Wharf) Limited

LDC (International House) Limited

LDC (Loughborough) Limited

LDC (Millennium View) Limited

LDC (New Wakefield Street) Limited

LDC (Newgate) Limited

LDC (Old Hospital) Limited

LDC (Portfolio) Limited

LDC (Portfolio One) Limited

LDC (Portfolio Four) Limited

LDC (Portfolio 100) Limited

LDC (Radmarsh Road) Limited

LDC (River Street) Limited

LDC (Skelhorne) Limited

LDC (St Leonards) Limited

LDC (St Vincent's) Limited

LDC (Stratford) Holdings Limited

LDC (Swindon NHS) Limited

LDC (Tara House) Limited

LDC (Thurso Street) GP1 Limited

LDC (Thurso Street) GP2 Limited

LDC (Thurso Street) GP3 Limited

LDC (Thurso Street) GP4 Limited

LDC (Tower North) Limited

LDC (William Morris II) Limited

LSAV (GP) Limited

LSAV (Rent Collection) Limited

Unite Accommodation Management 2 Limited

Unite Accommodation Management 4 Limited

Unite Accommodation Management 17 Limited

Unite Accommodation Management One Hundred Limited

Unite Construction (Stapleton) Limited

Unite Construction (Wembley) Limited

Unite Finance One (Accommodation Services) Limited

Unite Finance One (Property) Limited

Unite Integrated Solutions plc

Unite Rent Collection Limited

The Unite Group plc

USAF GP No.14 Limited

USAF GP No.15 Limited

USAF GP No.18 Limited

USAF Holdings H Limited

USAF Holdings I Limited

USAF Holdings J Limited

USAF Management 14 Limited

USAF Management 18 Limited

USAF Management GP No. 14 Limited

USAF Management GP No. 15 Limited

USAF Management GP No. 16 Limited

USAF Management GP No. 17 Limited

USAF Nominee No. 14 Limited

USAF Nominee No. 14A Limited

USAF Nominee No. 18 Limited

USAF Nominee No. 18A Limited



There is no other information that is required to be disclosed pursuant to Schedule 2 paragraph (g) or Rule 17 of the AIM Rules for Companies.


- Ends -


For further information:

Watkin Jones plc


Mark Watkin Jones, Chief Executive Officer

Tel: +44 (0) 1248 362 516

Phil Byrom, Chief Financial Officer



Peel Hunt LLP (Nominated Advisor & Joint Broker)

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7418 8900

Mike Bell / Justin Jones



Jefferies Hoare Govett (Joint Broker)

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7029 8000

Max Jones / Will Soutar




Media enquiries:



Henry Harrison-Topham / Richard Oldworth

Jamie Hooper / Catriona Flint


Tel: +44 (0) 20 7466 5000

[email protected]


Certain information contained within this announcement is deemed by the Company to constitute inside information as stipulated under the Market Abuse Regulation. Upon the publication of this announcement via Regulatory Information Service, this inside information is now considered to be in the public domain.


Notes to Editors

Watkin Jones is a leading UK developer and constructor of multi occupancy property assets, with a focus on the student accommodation and build to rent sectors.  The Group has strong relationships with institutional investors, and a reputation for successful, on-time-delivery of high quality developments.  Since 1999, Watkin Jones has delivered more than 34,500 student beds across 107 sites.  In addition, Fresh Property Group, the Group's specialist accommodation management company, manages more than 16,000 student beds on behalf of its institutional clients.  Watkin Jones has also been responsible for over 50 residential developments, ranging from starter homes to executive housing and apartments.  The Group is now expanding its development and management operations into the build to rent sector.


The Group's competitive advantage lies in its experienced management team and business model, which enables it to offer an end-to-end solution for investors, delivered entirely in-house with minimal reliance on third parties, across the entire life cycle of an asset.


Watkin Jones was admitted to trading on AIM in March 2016 with the ticker WJG.L.  For additional information please visit:

This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange

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