Long-serving chair to retire two months earlier than planned to prevent allegations being ‘disruptive to the company’

The chair of the UK’s largest housebuilder, Barratt is to stand down early in the wake of a string of allegations about his conduct toward female staff, largely relating to his tenure as president of the troubled business organisation, the CBI.

The firm said that John Allan will now step down on June 30 this year after having been asked by the board to accelerate his planned departure from the £5.2bn turnover company.

john allan large barratt

John Allan admitted making an inappropriate comment but denied other allegations

Allan, who announced on Friday he is standing down prematurely from his separate position as chair of supermarket Tesco, had originally been due to end his tenure at Barratt on September 6.

Earlier this month Allan admitted to making an inappropriate comment to a female member of staff at the Confederation of British Industry in 2019, for which he apologised, but denied three more serious anonymous allegations reported by the Guardian newspaper.

In a statement today, Barratt said that the Board had asked Allan to retire early because it “believes it is in the best interests of Barratt to accelerate the planned transition to the new Chair of the Board to prevent the ongoing impact of the allegations against John from becoming disruptive to the Company”.

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Allan’s accelerated departure means that Barratt’s chair designate, Caroline Silver, will take over in the role over two months earlier than planned, on June 30. The statement came after the firm remained tight-lipped over Allan’s future yesterday.

John Allan issued his own statement in response, which said: “It is with regret that at the request of the Board I am stepping down as chairman of Barratt Developments Plc as of June 30th, 2023, ahead of finishing my tenure in early September as planned.

“My early departure from Barratt is a result of the anonymous and unsubstantiated allegations made against me, as reported in the Guardian which I vehemently deny.

“Over the past nine years much has been achieved at Barratt to be proud of. I wish my successor Caroline Silver the very best as she takes on the position of Chair of this outstanding company.”

Jock Lennox, Barratt senior independent director, said: “The Board is grateful to John for his nine years of service to Barratt. He leaves the Company in a strong financial and operational position, continuing to perform well in challenging market conditions.”

Barratt repeated its earlier assertion that it had not received any complaints about Allan’s conduct from Barratt staff during his time at the company.

The controversy over Allan’s role comes six months after Barratt came under pressure from shareholders over its lack of female representation on the board.