U.K. Homebuilder Berkeley Announces Death of Founder Pidgley

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U.K. homebuilder Berkeley Group Holdings Plc announced the death of its founder and chairman Tony Pidgley. He was 72.

Pidgley “started Berkeley by building one house and his vision grew into a FTSE 100 company,” Chief Executive Officer Rob Perrins said in a statement on Friday. “He knew he would never retire, so he ensured that his culture was embedded in the company for when this sad day came.”

U.K. Homebuilder Berkeley Announces Death of Founder Pidgley

Berkeley shares fell on the news, and closed down 3.8% in London.

Pidgley’s death “poses a key succession issue, and he may be hard to replace,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Iwona Hovenko and Sue Munden.

Pidgley left school at 15 and went on to found his own haulage and plant-hire company, according to his biography on the company’s website. He sold the business at the age of 19 to Crest Homes and became a director where he learned the housebuilding industry.

From there Pidgley left to found Berkeley in 1976, growing the business to become one of the country’s largest housebuilders. He made his reputation as a shrewd timer of the property cycle, notably steering the company through the global financial crisis relatively unscathed. He took advantage of that downturn to load the company with cheap land that went on to fuel outsize profits for shareholders over the following decade.

Interim Chairman Glyn Barker said that Pidgley created a “unique company,” and that under Perrins’s leadership, “Tony’s values of ambition and quality will ensure the business continues to flourish.”

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