Hammerson eyes Canadian real estate boss as new CEO

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Hammerson Rita-Rose Gagné
The new chief executive will succeed David Atkins
// Hammerson considers drafting in real estate boss Rita-Rose Gagné as CEO
// The Bullring centre owner dropped out of the FTSE 250 index this month
// Its focus on fortifying its finances comes weeks after rival Intu collapsed into administration

Hammerson is reportedly considering hiring the Canadian president of growth markets at a real estate firm as its new chief executive.

Rita-Rose Gagné has been working at Montreal-based company Ivanhoé Cambridge since 2006 and is expected to be one of the leading contenders for the top job at Hammerson, The Sunday Times reported.

The new chief executive will succeed David Atkins to take the helm at the embattled owner of the Bullring shopping centre.


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Hammerson dropped out of the FTSE 250 index this month after facing an 85 per cent drop in its share price since January, exasperated by the Covid-19 pandemic – which led to an increase in online shopping.

Many of its tenants have gone bust since March or are refusing to pay rent.

Hammerson’s focus on fortifying its finances came just weeks after rival Intu collapsed into administration.

Simon Betty, an internal candidate, resigned this month, just days after Hammerson raised £550 million in an emergency rights issue and a further £275 million through the sale of some of its European retail outlets.

Betty first joined Hammerson in 2006, and left to take up a new job at a European company.

His decision to quit ruled out the prospect of Hammerson promoting an internal successor to its veteran chief executive Atkins.

Shares in Hammerson closed at 21p on Friday, valuing it at £32 million. The market capitalisation including the rights issue is £804 million.

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