18 May 2018
THE UNITE GROUP PLC
("Unite Students", "Unite", the "Group", or the "Company")
The Unite Group plc, the UK's leading manager and developer of student accommodation, announces that Richard Simpson will be stepping down from his role with immediate effect. After 13 years with Unite, including six as Group Property Director, Richard has decided to take up the role as CEO of Watkin Jones plc. Richard will remain with the Group on garden leave until 31 December 2018 to ensure a smooth handover. From 1st January 2019 he will be free to take up his new role.
Nick Hayes will be promoted to Group Property Director, but will not be appointed to the Board of Directors. Nick has been at Unite for 11 years and is currently the Company's Property Director. Nick has been leading the Group's development and property activities for the last two years and brings a wealth of experience to the role.
The Company does not intend to replace Richard Simpson's position on the Board of Directors and will continue with a Board of seven directors, comprising a non-executive chairman, two executive directors and four non-executive directors.
Phil White, Chairman of Unite, commented:
"I would like to thank Richard for his contribution to Unite over a number of years and particularly since joining the Board in 2012. Richard has been instrumental in driving Unite's property strategy to create a high-quality portfolio focused on the best universities in the UK.
"Nick's promotion is well-deserved and I am delighted that he will be taking on more responsibilities, building on the excellent work that he has been delivering across our properties and university partnerships."
For further information, please contact:
Joe Lister, Chief Financial Officer
Powerscourt (PR adviser to Unite)
Justin Griffiths or Mazar Masud
Tel: +44 117 302 7053
Tel: +44 207 250 1446
Notes to editors:
About Unite Students
Unite Students is the UK's largest manager and developer of purpose-built student accommodation serving the country's world-leading higher education sector. We currently provide homes for almost 50,000 students in more than 140 properties across 24 leading university towns and cities in England and Scotland. Unite also has a strong development pipeline, which will deliver a further 8,000 beds in the next three years.
Our 1,450 people are driven by a common purpose: to provide the students who live with us a 'Home for Success' and to be the most trusted brand in the sector. We do this through great service, great people and great properties, all designed on the basis of an unrivalled insight into students' needs and preferences.
Unite's accommodation is high quality, safe and secure, and located close to university campuses, transport links and local amenities. Students live predominantly in en-suite study bedrooms with rents covering all bills, insurance, 24-hour security, fortnightly cleaning services and high-speed Wi-Fi. MyUnite, our mobile app, provides practical support such as instant messaging and maintenance requests.
Our commitment to customer service is powered by an innovative, in-house operating platform. It provides a wide range of benefits to our students, such as an optimised online booking process, as well as providing us with a unique ability to drive value from our portfolio through scale efficiencies and revenue management.
Alongside delivering great service, our other strategic priority is delivering growing and sustainable earnings, underpinned by a strong capital structure. A key part of this strategy is growing the number of beds let though partnerships with mid and high tariff universities which are experiencing record levels of student demand. We currently partner with 60 higher education institutions, guaranteeing that approximately 60% of our rooms are let under multi-year, 'nomination agreements' providing high visibility of forward occupancy and rental growth.
Unite is invested in and operates two specialist funds and joint ventures with institutional investment partners: the £2 billion Unite UK Student Accommodation Fund (USAF), and the £1 billion London Student Accommodation Vehicle (LSAV).
Unite is the founder of and major donor to the Unite Foundation, a charitable trust established to support talented students facing challenging financial circumstances through the provision of free accommodation annual scholarships. The Foundation has so far provided scholarships for 250 young people working in close collaboration with 28 universities.
Founded in 1991 in Bristol, Unite Group is an award-winning Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), listed on the London Stock Exchange and a member of the FTSE 250 Index.
This information is provided by RNS