The Men and Women Who Run Land Securities

Published in Company Comment on 13 September 2012

What you need to know about the property group's top executives.

Management can make all the difference to a company's success and thus its share price.

The best companies are those run by talented and experienced leaders with strong vested interests in the success of the business, held in check by a board with sound financial and business acumen. On the other hand, some of the worst investments to hold are those run by executives collecting fat rewards as the underlying business goes to pot.

In this series, I'm assessing the boardrooms of companies within the FTSE 100 (UKX). I hope to separate the management teams that are worth following from those that are not. Today I am looking at Land Securities (LSE: LAND), Britain's largest real estate investment trust.

Here are the key directors:

DirectorPosition
Alison Carnwath(non-exec) Chairman
Robert NoelChief Executive
Martin GreensladeFinance Director
Richard AkersExecutive Director

Alison Carnwath has the distinction of being the only female chairman of a FTSE 100 company. She has also featured in this series previously, as the chairman of the remuneration committee on Barclays’ (LSE: BARC) board who resigned in the wake of Bob Diamond’s demise. To be fair, it was said that she personally argued against the excesses of his remuneration package but was outvoted. A former investment banker herself, she has been chairman of Land Securities since 2008.

Walkie-talkie

Robert Noel joined the board in 2010 and looked after the company’s London portfolio, including the iconic ‘walkie-talkie’ skyscraper development, before becoming CEO in April this year. His career has been spent in the property world in which he is well-regarded, serving as property director at the smaller – and some would say nimbler – rival Great Portland Estates (LSE: GPOR) from 2002 to 2009.

Martin Greenslade became CFO in 2005. The former finance director of Alvis plc is a chartered accountant who has also worked in corporate finance. Richard Akers also joined the board in 2005. He is a retail property professional, and a former President of the British Council of Shopping Centres.

Land Securities’ six non-execs include Sir Stuart Rose, the eminent former CEO and chairman of Marks and Spencer (LSE: MKS), and balance property, finance, consulting and business expertise.

Claw-back

The company has proposed a bonus claw-back mechanism for future management incentive awards, one of very few firms outside the financial sector to have such arrangements. It also has guidelines for the CEO and other executives to own shares worth 2 times and 1.5 times their salary respectively.

I analyse management teams from five different angles to help work out a verdict. Here's my assessment:

1. Reputation. Management CVs and track record.

Sound.
Score 4/5
2. Performance. Success at the company.

Too soon to judge CEO.
Score 3/5
3. Board Composition. Skills, experience, balance

Good balance.
Score 4/5
4. Remuneration. Fairness of pay, link to performance.

Reasonable, with bonus claw-back.
Score 4/5
5. Directors’ Holdings, compared to their pay.

Chairman and execs have £1m plus.
Score 5/5

Overall, Land Securities scores 20 out of 25, a very good result across the board that augurs well for Robert Noel’s tenure as CEO.

I've collated all my FTSE 100 boardroom verdicts on this summary page. I hope it helps with your analysis.

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> Tony owns shares in Great Portland Estates but no other shares mentioned in this article.

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Comments

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SmudgeButt 14 Sep 2012 , 10:25am

Shouldn't this be titled "The Woman and Men who Land Securities". Couldn't see more than 1 female mentioned and as she is top dog I would have thought she deserved top billing.

I always say to people where I work that it's the small inaccuracies that can bring a whole piece of work into question.

TRhere 14 Sep 2012 , 11:35am

SmudgeButt,

One of the other non execs is a woman, so 'The men and women who *run* Land Securities' is correct....

Tony R

SmudgeButt 14 Sep 2012 , 12:27pm

OK Tony - Is it mentioned at all in the article? Or is it just not obvious to me?

And glad you spotted my *intentional* error.

goodlifer 14 Sep 2012 , 2:48pm

If you want to be pedantic, "man" doesn't necessarily exclude women and children.
It can mean "human being" or "mankind" as in ,"And God said, Let us make man in our image... Male and female he created them," or "Man is Nature's sole mistake."

"Man," in fact, often embraces woman.

SmudgeButt 14 Sep 2012 , 4:24pm

Goodlifer - if you wanted to be really pedantic the term man does very often exclude woman - but that's not the point I was making. I wasn't trying to start a feminist diatribe or whatever.

The fact that the "Alison Carnwath has the distinction of being the only female chairman" and is the chair"man" of this company is worthy of note. (the fact that it needs to be noted she is a female chairman rather than being the chair would be another feminist rant). My point was that given the title of the piece referring to "Men & Women" and she was the only female mentioned AND the chair shouldn't it be ladies (or lady) first? Hence "Woman & Men".

My pendantry (is that correct) is for accuracy in the title and little more.

Obviously it's always nice to hear of a more equal split of resonsibilities in the world of business - ya gotta admit the guys ain't bin doing that grand a job the last few years! (should I make that decades? centuries? or simply shut up?)

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