Nigel Ellis is stepping down at the end of March after 11 years leading the board

In its interim results announced this morning Quintain said non-executive director John Plender, a chartered accountant by training and a journalist at the Financial Times, would take over as chairman.

'Given the length of time I have been in office and the fact that I am 67 years old, I feel it is now time to stand down as chairman,' said Ellis. In a second management move Tonianne Dwyer, the head of the fund management division, has been promoted to the board.

In the six months to 30 September Quintain increased pretax profits by 18% to £5.6m. The interim dividend was raised by 7.7% to 3.5p a share. Net asset value remained at 516p a share because the company did not carry out an interim revaluation of its portfolio. However, it intends to start doing interim revaluations next year.

An informal review of the portfolio, which focused on the two big London projects, revealed a a 7.7% increase in the value of Wembley to £435m and a 19% rise at Greenwich to £175m.

Quintain, which does not intend converting to a REIT, is the subject of takeover talk. Its shares have enjoyed a strong run in the past three months, rising 25% and outperforming the property sector by 10%. Its shares this morning dropped 1.85%, or 15.5p, to 823.5p, valuing it at just above £1bn.

In the past week a mystery stake-builder has amassed a 5% holding in Quintain through contracts for difference written by Man Financial, the securities house