May 21, 2019 / 9:42 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Hammerson CFO Drakesmith resigns after eight years in role

(Adds background, details on previous deals, share performance)

May 21 (Reuters) - British shopping centre operator Hammerson Plc said on Tuesday its chief financial officer, Timon Drakesmith, had resigned after eight years in the role.

Drakesmith will continue to be a member of the board until he leaves later this year, Hammerson said, adding that it would begin the search for a new CFO.

The finance chief’s departure comes two months after reports said French shopping centre operator Klepierre had no immediate plans to bid for Hammerson.

Shareholders have raised concerns about Hammerson’s performance after it spurned a 5 billion pound ($6.5 billion)takeover bid by rival Klepierre last year. Klepierre said Hammerson failed to provide “meaningful engagement” over a potential deal.

It also pulled out of buying smaller rival Intu Properties Plc after concerns over higher exposure to Britain’s struggling retail sector. Ever since, Hammerson has been selling assets to cut debt and even cancelled a share buyback programme.

The company expanded its asset sale plans after winning support from activist investor Elliot Advisors. It looks to sell over 500 million pounds of assets in 2019.

Shares of the company was down 1% at 285 pence at 0938 GMT. The stock has fallen nearly 40% in 2018 and has declined over 13% so far this year. ($1 = 0.7881 pounds) (Reporting by Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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