Philip Yea to join 3i as chief executive after turning down British Land job

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The Independent Online

Philip Yea, the man who turned down the chief executive job at British Land, was named yesterday as the new head of 3i, the private equity group.

Philip Yea, the man who turned down the chief executive job at British Land, was named yesterday as the new head of 3i, the private equity group.

Mr Yea will succeed 3i's current chief executive, Brian Larcombe, who is due to retire in July. It emerged on Thursday that Mr Yea, a former finance director at Diageo, changed his mind about joining the property company at the last minute, just before signing a contract, because he had got a better offer.

The news would have come as a disappointment to three internal 3i candidates who were seen as strong contenders: Michael Queen, the finance director; Chris Rowlands, who runs the growth business; and Jonathan Russell, the head of the buyout division.

Mr Yea, 49, left Diageo, the drinks group, in 1999 and joined Investcorp, an investment group that raises its funds in the Gulf. He is one of the managing directors of its private equity business. His other directorships include non-executive posts at HBOS and Manchester United. He will join 3i in July.

Baroness Hogg, the chairman of 3i, said: "We are delighted to have attracted such a high calibre candidate to the job. Philip has an exceptional breadth of experience across industry, the City and private equity."

Mr Yea's rejection of British Land has left that company's succession in chaos. The property group had been committed to splitting the chairman and chief executive jobs, currently occupied by John Ritblat, by the time of its annual meeting in July, a target it said it was now unlikely to meet.

Mr Yea will join 3i just after the company has announced its most positive financial results since 2000. The group said earlier this week that the current financial year should be even stronger.

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