// Intu appoints chief people officer to bring a new focus to its people strategy
// James Saunders joins from Vodafone
Intu has appointed Vodafone’s former head of HR James Saunders to the newly-created role of chief people officer as part of its five-year strategy.
Saunders is expected to bring a new focus to its people strategy, and “lead Intu’s employee experience, and attract, inspire and retain talent within the business”.
He has held senior roles within HR and transformation teams at Nationwide Building Society.
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“Since becoming chief executive last year, I have focused on introducing new expertise and a fresh perspective to Intu’s executive committee to allow us to deliver our strategy,” Intu chief executive Matthew Roberts said.
“The chief people officer role is a key appointment within the smaller and more focused executive team.
“James has exactly the right skills and experience for this new and incredibly important role.
“Our people are fundamental to delivering Intu’s strategy and putting the performance of Intu’s rent-paying customers and our centres at the heart of the business.
“It is vital that we have a people strategy in place that will support this by inspiring, engaging and supporting everyone who works here as well as attracting new talent to Intu.”
Saunders said: “I want Intu to have the best talent in the industry and be a place where people do the best work of their careers.
“During my short time with Intu I have met many passionate people, discovered a wealth of skills and expertise and learnt just how well equipped Intu’s leaderships team is for the future of the business.
“I’m really looking forward to building on these fantastic strengths.”
Separately, Intu said it has completed the sale of the Puerto Venecia shopping centre in Spain for €475.3 million (£406 million).
The shopping centre owner will receive €237.7 million (£207.28 million) from its share of the shopping centre sale to Generali Shopping Centre Fund and Union Investment Real Estate.
It will deliver net proceeds of around €115 million (£100.2 million) after repayment of debt, working capital adjustments and taxation.
The shopping centre in Zaragoza was jointly owned by affiliates of Intu and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.
“We are pleased to have successfully concluded this transaction which is another important step in our ultimate strategic objective to fix the balance sheet over the medium term,” Roberts said.