Cala appoints CEO amid another strong year

Edinburgh-based upmarket home builder Cala Group, now 100% owned by Legal & General, said on Monday Kevin Whitaker, currently one of two regional chairs, will become Cala CEO on August 1, 2018.

Graham Reid, group finance director of Cala Group, had assumed the role of interim chief executive at the end of April 2018 and will remain in that position until August 1.

The CEO news came as Cala announced a “sixth consecutive year of strong performance” and gave its first business performance update since the full acquisition by Legal & General.

In March, Legal & General Group announced that its Legal & General Capital division acquired the 52.1% of Cala it did not previously own, valuing Cala at £605 million.

“Following the recent retirement of previous group chief executive Alan Brown in April 2018, the board is pleased to confirm the promotion of Kevin Whitaker to the role, assuming all CEO responsibilities as at 1 August 2018,” said Cala on Monday.

“Kevin … has worked for Cala since 1999, having previously been managing director of Cala Homes East and Land Director with Cala Homes Scotland before that.

“Kevin has been a key member of the management team for the last eleven years, helping to drive Cala to the strong position that it is in today.”

In its trading update for the 12 months to June 30, Cala said total home completions were up 29% to 2,171 and private average selling price fell to £463,000 from £497,000) “driven by a change in site mix and continued transition away from the top end of the market.”

Cala said 29 new sites (2,836 plots) were contracted during the year with a potential gross development value (GDV) of £1.1 billion and planning permission was granted on 29 sites (3,116 plots) with a potential GDV of £1.1bn

Graham Reid, interim chief executive of Cala Group, said: “The past twelve months have been a landmark year for Cala.

“The continued strength of our performance produced a sixth consecutive year of outstanding delivery, while we were also able to further expand our growth targets based on our consistent track record and investment in the business in recent years.

“The overall market backdrop for Cala has remained broadly supportive and we enter the remainder of the extended financial year in a positive position, with a healthy level of forward private reservations.

“Looking ahead, we remain confident of continuing our strong growth momentum with the benefit of the backing of Legal & General, one of the most highly‐respected, blue‐chip investors who shares our long‐term vision.”

Whitaker said: “I am extremely proud that Legal & General has appointed me as Cala’s chief executive.

“Having spent 19 years with the company, I know about the quality of our people, culture, strategy and the homes we build, and I am very excited to get started as we continue to grow the business and deliver on our strategy.

“Legal & General’s investment in the remaining part of Cala is the start of an exciting new chapter for the group and our strong track record of delivery, combined with our growth strategy, means that we are well placed to build on the excellent momentum we have generated in recent years.”