British Land yesterday started its search for a new chief executive following confirmation that Stephen Hester would return to the banking sector at the helm of Royal Bank of Scotland.

The FTSE 100 property company has appointed a recruitment specialist to search for a replacement for Mr Hester and is sounding out potential candidates.

British Land said a suitable date for Mr Hester’s departure would be agreed shortly and it would announce succession plans in due course.

Yesterday, the company’s shareholders were calling for an experienced property professional to steer it through the worst property market for more than 15 years.

There have been a number of names suggested by investors.

Internally, two favourites have emerged: Graham Roberts, finance director; and Andrew Jones, head of retail. Both are executive directors of British Land.

Financial Times