Taylor Woodrow chief leaves after five months

Taylor Woodrow, the property and construction group, has parted company with its chief executive, who has spent just five months in the job. The departure of John Castle, the first outside chief executive at Taylor Woodrow in its 75-year history, has resulted from a "fundamental incompatibility" between him and the rest of the board. Nigel Cope, City Correspondent reports.

Taylor Woodrow said Mr Castle had resigned by mutual agreement and left the company with immediate effect. It appears that Mr Castle, who joined the company in June, had failed to build a good working relationship with the group's divisional directors. The non-executive directors, led by Sir Kit McMahon, the former chairman of Midland Bank, agreed it was better to take early action than let the personality clash worsen. The company said Mr Castle's departure was not due to a dispute over future strategy.

Mr Castle was on a salary of pounds 225,000 a year and is in line for a pay- off of equivalent to 1.8 times salary. This means he stands to make almost pounds 500,000 for five months' work.

Colin Parsons, the former chief executive who had moved up to executive chairman, will take over as acting chief executive until a replacement can be found. Sir Kit will become deputy chairman. Sir Kit said: "I'm afraid it recently became clear to the non-executives that John's appointment wasn't working and it was better to solve the problem now rather than later. We realised that he was unable to build the sort of relationships with his fellow directors that a chief executive needs."

Mr Parsons attempted to limit the damage of the boardroom fall-out in the City by saying that Taylor Woodrow was in "excellent financial health and is anticipating another year of steadily improving results as indicated at the time of the recent interim results".

Mr Castle joined Taylor Woodrow after spells with Marley, the building materials group, and the American conglomerate, Textron. He had met the divisional directors prior to taking up the post and it appeared there was a brief "honeymoon period" of a month to six weeks, during which the board got along well.

But shortly after this, the non-executives became aware that relations were becoming strained.

The company denied any rift between Mr Castle and Mr Parsons, who had been chief executive of Taylor Wooodrow for five years from 1992 and had helped turn a pounds 94m loss into a pounds 67m profit. The group also dismissed speculation that the board had found it hard to adapt to an external appointment after 75 years of promoting from within.

Mr Castle had joined with the intention of reducing Taylor Woodrow's construction operations to make it a housing and property group with modest interests in construction rather than the other way around. The construction business has averaged a return on sales of less than 1 per cent since 1985.

He was under pressure to improve the group's meagre net returns of just 6 per cent on its annual sales of pounds 1.2bn.

In September Taylor Woodrow reported a 43 per cent jump in pre-tax profits to pounds 36.2m for the six months to June.

Some analysts said that Mr Castle may have felt constrained from taking the radical action some in the City were calling for due to the continued presence on the board of Mr Parsons. Mr Castle said he was in favour of evolution rather than revolution.

One of the ironies of Mr Castle's departure is that on the mantelpiece in his Mayfair office he kept a homily which read: "The Trap: to continue to do the same thing and expect a different outcome." After just 22 weeks in the job, this was certainly not the outcome he was expecting.

Taylor Woodrow shares closed 0.5p lower at 184.5p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent