TRINITY Property Group chairman Keith De Lacy says he was ‘devastated’ when two newly appointed executives Laurie Brindle and Steve Leigh recently walked off with $7 million from the company.
De Lacy will retire when a suitable replacement is found and deputy chairman Peter Lewis has resigned outright, amid shareholder backlash and disappointment over what they thought would be a longer tenure for the two executives.
Laurie Brindle and Steve Leigh were appointed in February, but as CEO and deputy CEO they left Trinity with $4 million and $3 million respectively last month.
De Lacy says when Brindle and Leigh negotiated with Trinity they made it unconditional to receive bonuses built up at the Queensland Investment Corporation, but he expected they would be with the group for the long haul.
“I decided to resign on the basis that it was such a disappointing outcome — the buck stops there,” says De Lacy.
“When we negotiated we had to continue to compensate for everything they would have got at the QIC in terms of long term bonuses, which they would have received if they hung on there until September.
“Obviously, we believe that people with a conservative approach like them would have been there for the long term.”
He plans to find a replacement as chairman as quickly as possible, but despite the payout debacle and a struggling development arm he believes the group is in a strong position with its property trust.
“If I could find a replacement tomorrow I would, but it will probably take a couple of weeks — the property game has been very tough in the last six to 12 months, particularly in the development side of property,” he says.
“We’ve sold a lot of our development assets, we’ve still got development funds but we’ll be focusing on property funds management – the Trinity Property Trust, the one we set up in 1998 is still very strong, very liquid and very profitable. I’ve got plenty of other challenges.”
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