Vicinity Centres MD Grant Kelley to retire

Vicinity Centres MD Grant Kelley to retire

Outgoing Vicinity Centres CEO and managing director Grant Kelley.

The CEO and managing director of retail property group Vicinity Centres (ASX: VCX), Grant Kelley, has today announced his retirement after five years in the top role.

Kelley will remain at the company until 30 June 2023 to facilitate a coordinated transition to his successor.

Vicinity chairman Trevor Gerber thanked Kelley for his service to the company over the past five years, particularly during the challenging COVID-19 period which had a significant impact on the property firm’s retail tenants.

“Grant successfully led Vicinity through the significant and unprecedented challenges of the pandemic while at the same time, ensuring the company was well positioned to deliver on its long-term growth objectives,” Gerber said.

“Testament to Vicinity’s post-COVID operational and financial recovery, is the company being the best performing stock in the A-REIT index over the past 12 months, with Vicinity outperforming the A-REIT index by 30 per cent.

“Furthermore, the curation of a strong and flexible balance sheet, together with Vicinity’s consistently prudent approach to financial stewardship and sustainable growth, are the hallmarks of Grant’s leadership at Vicinity. These hallmarks now underpin the company’s ability to pursue its next phase of growth, notably its $2.9 billion retail and mixed-use development pipeline.”

Kelley said the decision to retire from Vicinity was ‘difficult’, but noted he was proud to leave the company in a strong position.

“The past five years at Vicinity have been extremely rewarding and having made the difficult decision to leave the company, I am especially proud to be leaving Vicinity in a strong financial and operational position that will support continued growth and value creation in the future,” Kelley said.

“I would like to thank the board, my executive leadership team and everyone at Vicinity for their support, drive, and commitment; working with you has been my great privilege.”

The CEO’s departure comes after Vicinity reported a $1.2 billion FY22 profit, generated from a boom in shoppers returning to the group’s Australian properties.

The result reflected a reversal of property write-downs during the year with a $633.3 million increase in property valuations in FY22 almost erasing the $642.7 million slashed off the value of its portfolio the previous year.

However, Vicinity’s underlying performance was supported by a sustained rebound in retail sales and retailer confidence, especially in the second half, which led to a 7.1 per cent increase in funds from operations (FFO) to $598 million.

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