UPDATE 1-Market runs out of patience with Quintain CEO-analyst
* Maxwell James to replace Adrian Wyatt as CEO (Adds comment from Quintain)
By Brenda Goh
LONDON May 24 (Reuters) - Growing shareholder frustration with the leadership of British property investor Quintain Estates may have prompted the departure of the company's founder and chief executive Adrian Wyatt, a leading analyst said.
The 64-year-old Wyatt, who founded the company 20 years ago, will be replaced by executive director Maxwell James as chief executive on May 25, Quintain said on Thursday.
"He's been there for a very long time. The company's gone through all sorts of financial difficulties, restructured, refinanced, and the market, I suspect, has run out of patience," Investec analyst Alan Carter told Reuters.
Shares in the company have fallen by about 47 percent since hitting a 18-month high of 67.5 pence in June last year, versus a 15 percent fall in the broader index of UK property stocks over the same period.
James's appointment would allow for "increased management focus," JP Morgan Cazenove said in a note.
Quintain's shares are currently trading at about 70 percent discount to its net asset value, indicating that "many investors have written Quintain off," it said.
Quintain has refocused on its fund business and London schemes, which include large-scale regeneration projects at Wembley and the Greenwich Peninsula, after it was hit by the global financial crisis.
Questions were raised over the pace of progress of these London projects, said a City source who declined to be named.
"Historically the company has done well but in the last few years it has had difficulties," said Peel Hunt analyst James Carswell.
In 2009, the company raised 183.5 million pounds ($288.4 million) in a rights issue in a bid to bolster its finances and revive its development schemes and renegotiated borrowing terms with key lenders.
"I haven't had a call from a shareholder to say any comment in respect of Adrian or the management team in the last year or two," chairman William Rucker said.
Earlier on Thursday Wyatt said "the time is right for me to hand over the reins to the next generation to take the business forward."
At 1310 GMT, shares in Quintain were unchanged at 34.5 pence, underperforming the broader index of UK property stocks which was up 1.06 percent. ($1 = 0.6363 British pounds) (Editing by David Cowell)
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