August 21, 2019 / 6:29 AM / a year ago

Hammerson names AIG exec as new finance chief

(Reuters) - Shopping centre operator Hammerson Plc (HMSO.L) on Wednesday appointed AIG (AIG.N) executive James Lenton as its new finance chief, months after saying Timon Drakesmith would step down from the role this year.

Lenton, whose LinkedIn page says he was chief financial officer of the U.S. insurer’s EMEA business and its European Group until June, will take over the role from Oct. 1.

Hammerson and its peers are struggling with a tough retail environment in Britain, which has seen several high-profile chains close in the last year as consumer habits change and Brexit worries quell spending by shoppers.

Its latest earnings report showed a more than 12% drop in net rental income, excluding premium outlets for the first-half. Like-for-like net rental income for UK flagship destinations fell 6.8%, or down 0.1% at a group level.

Hammerson’s stock price has plummeted as much as 35% since it spurned a 5 billion pound takeover bid by rival Klepierre (LOIM.PA) last year.

The company also walked away from a deal to buy smaller rival Intu Properties Plc (INTUP.L) in the first half of last year.

Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham

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