Intu chief Roberts steps down a week after shopping centre group’'s collapse

July 03, 2020

The chief executive of Intu Properties, Britain's biggest shopping centre owner, has left the company a week after it crashed into insolvency proceedings.

Sky News has learnt that KPMG, which is handling Intu's administration, informed the company's employees on Friday that Matthew Roberts had decided to leave the role he had held since April last year.

The announcement about Mr Roberts' exit comes as the administrators retains key Intu operational staff to ensure the continued smooth running of its 17 UK shopping centres, which include the Trafford Centre in Manchester and Lakeside in Essex.

Intu's collapse has triggered a complex restructuring which will involve untangling a series of connected corporate entities that directly own its assets.

The company, which had been in London's FTSE-250 index as recently as last year, saw its troubles compounded by the coronavirus pandemic, with numerous retailers withholding rent payments in March and June.

Mr Roberts had been Intu's finance chief before being promoted to the top job last year.

He had made some progress during the last year in tackling the company's debt-gorged balance sheet, selling £600m of assets to pay off a chunk of its borrowings.

Intu is a key player in many of the regional economies in which it operates.

It directly employs nearly 3,000 people, with a further 102,000 people working in its UK shopping centres.

Another 30,000 people are employed in its supply chain.

In recent days, the administrators have successfully secured £12m from creditors to enable Intu's centres to remain open for a six-month period.

KPMG declined to comment on Friday.

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