Home Reit chair steps down with rest of the board to follow

Michael O’Donnell named as Lynne Fennah’s successor


Lynne Fennah has stood down as chair of the embattled Home Reit, while the rest of the board has committed to resigning once the trust’s delayed results have been published.

“I recognise and share investors’ frustration at the events which have unfolded over the last 14 months and the deterioration in the performance of the company,” she said in a stock exchange announcement this morning (18 January).

“With a new investment manager in place and the stabilisation of the company’s portfolio and financial position ongoing, now is the right time to step aside.”

See also: Home Reit sees £564m wiped from portfolio value after reassessment

Michael O’Donnell has been appointed chair with immediate effect, with Fennah remaining on the board as a non-executive director.

He is currently non-executive director and chair of the renumeration committee at FTSE 250 self-storage company Big Yellow Group.

O’Donnell has prior experience in the social care and wider healthcare services sectors, including as chair of Cygnet Health Care.

He said: “Home Reit continues to face challenges but progress on critical workstreams is now well underway, with the publication of the audited results a key priority. I am committed to protecting the interests of all Home Reit’s stakeholders and look forward to meeting with them over the coming months.”

The firm’s shares have been suspended since the start of 2023 after the trust was unable to publish its annual results in time.

Last week, the firm said the outstanding results would be published in ‘early 2024’.

Meanwhile, Home Reit is facing a legal claim from Harcus Parker on behalf of trust shareholders. A spokesperson for the law firm said: “The departure of Home Reit’s board is a helpful step in the company’s efforts to distance itself from its failure to deliver the advertised business model and the impact promised to shareholders.

“While the appointment of a new chair creates an opportunity for Home Reit to move away from its past behaviours, it will only be able to move forward once shareholders are compensated for their losses and the company, its former management and former advisors at Alvarium (now AlTi Global) are held to account for their actions.”