Intu Properties taps former Crest Nicholson finance chief as CFO

(Reuters) - Intu Properties named Robert Allen as chief financial officer, the latest appointment in a wide-ranging management shuffle as the British shopping centre operator wades through the effects of a string of retail collapses and Brexit gloom.

Allen was homebuilder Crest Nicholson Holdings Plc’s finance chief for two years until 2018, Intu said. Barbara Gibbes, who filled the CFO position on a temporary basis, will return to her role as director of finance.

The new CFO will be tasked with turning around Intu’s balance sheet, as the company looks to preserve cash and reduce its debt by selling assets after it became a target of two failed takeover bids last year.

Allen’s appointment comes two months after the company named its then finance chief, Matthew Roberts, as chief executive officer, following the departure of David Fischel, its CEO of 18 years, who quit in the wake of a failed buyout of the company by bigger rival Hammerson.

“(Allen) will bring to Intu his extensive and highly relevant experience of refinancings, M&A, treasury, IT and investor relation,” Roberts said.

Intu, whose flagship properties include the Trafford Centre in Manchester, scrapped its final dividend in February. The company cut its income forecast for the year last month, blaming retail collapses and a slowdown in new lettings.

Reporting by Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty