Former Galliard boss leaves listed housebuilder by ‘mutual agreement’ just over a month into job

The new chief executive of listed housebuilder and land trader Inland Homes has quit little more than a month into the role, the firm announced yesterday.

Don O'Sullivan, Chief Executive, Galliard Homes 2

Don O’Sullivan resigned as chief executive of Inland Homes

Inland said in a two-sentence statement to the City that former Galliard Homes chief executive Don O’Sullivan had “resigned from the Group with immediate effect by mutual agreement.”

Shares in the firm fell 18% after the announcement, made yesterday afternoon, which was made without explanation for his departure. O’Sullivan, who was appointed chief executive of Inland on December 7, has also stepped down from the board.

His rapid appointment and then departure comes amid a turbulent time for the business, after its founder and chief executive quit in September upon the announcement of a profit warning which saw shares drop by a fifth.

The profit warning related to delays in securing the sale of sites prior to its financial year end in September, and provisions of £15.4m from its construction division, due to “build cost inflation […] persisting at levels beyond that previously forecast in our cost estimates and design changes”.

O’Sullivan had been appointed in part to lead an ongoing strategic review, which was announced on 6 September, of the £181m turnover developer, with the board expected to update on the review in the first quarter of this year.

stephen-wicks Inland Homes

Former chief executive Stephen Wicks quit Inland in September following a profit warning

O’Sullivan’s appointment had appeared to reassure investors, with the firm’s stock market value recovering 37% in the month after he took control.

Prior to his appointment at Inland, O’Sullivan had spent more than 20 years at Galliard Homes, starting in 2001 as a contract manager, rising to chief executive between 2017 and March last year. Upon his appointment, Simon Bennett, Inland chair had said he had “no doubt” that Don had the experience, skills and expertise to lead the group. He said: “He is ideally qualified to lead Inland Homes and his construction expertise will prove to be invaluable.”

O’Sullivan had added: “I am pleased to be joining Inland Homes as its new CEO at such a strategically important time. I am looking forward to working with the Inland Homes team to return the business to sustainable profitable growth and to optimising the significant future opportunities available to us.”