Persimmon drama continues as CEO quits after a year

Scandal-hit York house building giant Persimmon plc said on Thursday David Jenkinson “has informed the board of his wish to step down as group CEO” after about 14 months in the role.

The news came as Persimmon announced results for the year to December 31, 2019, showing revenue 2.4% lower at £3.65 billion and profit before tax of £1.041 billion (2018: £1.091 billion).

Persimmon shares fell about 7% to around £28.75 to give the firm a current stock market value of around £9.8 billion.

Persimmon was recently urged to change its corporate culture by an independent review following serious complaints about its executive pay, customer service and the safety of its homes.

Former Persimmon CEO Jeff Fairburn left the firm amid a scandal over his $100 million package.

“After 23 years at Persimmon, David Jenkinson has informed the board of his wish to step down as group CEO in due course,” said Persimmon.

“He has signalled his intention early to give the board good time to recruit a successor.

“Dave will remain in the CEO role and fully committed to leading the ongoing programme of change for as long as the business requires.”

Persimmon chairman Roger Devlin said: “Dave has played a critical role in the development of a new Persimmon.

“As chief executive he quickly set about designing and implementing a programme of change and started the process of resetting the culture of the business …

“Dave has the full support of the board and will continue to do so until he leaves.

“I am grateful that Dave has signalled his intention to step down at an early stage to give us the time to carry out a thorough search process and to continue the evolution of the business.” 

Jenkinson said: “I’m very pleased with the progress that we’ve made over the last year in reshaping Persimmon’s approach and culture while at the same time maintaining our operational momentum.

“Persimmon is an outstanding business with a strong balance sheet and a great team of talented and dedicated people who mean a great deal to me. I will remain fully committed to both the CEO role and to our programme of change until my last day in the job.”