Gibson-Smith appointed interim executive chairman of British Land as Hester’s departure date is agreed

British Land chief executive Stephen Hester is to leave the company to take the helm of Royal Bank of Scotland on 15 November.

Non-executive chairman Chris Gibson-Smith will become executive chairman from today, while the company progresses its chief executive succession plans.

The board has asked its nomination committee to lead the search for a new chief executive and an executive search firm will aid the process. Both internal and external candidates will be considered.

‘Stephen leaves a resilient company which is well positioned to deal with the current economic conditions,’ said Gibson-Smith. ‘The British Land management team is very experienced across property and finance and has ensured that the financial and operating characteristics of the company are among the best in the industry.’

Gibson-Smith joined British Land as a non-executive director in January 2003 and was appointed non-executive chairman in January 2007.

He was chairman of National Air Traffic Services from 2001 to 2005, managing director of bp from 1997 to 2001, a director of Lloyds TSB from 1999 to 2005 and director of Powergen from 2001 to 2002. He has been chairman of the London Stock Exchange since 2003.