Spanish property company Merlin’s board pledges to reform governance, keep CEO

MADRID, Dec 20 (Reuters) – The board of Spanish real estate firm Merlin Properties (MRL.MC) pledged on Monday to reform the company’s governance structure while keeping its CEO Ismael Clemente in his post. .

A board meeting was called for Monday evening after the property developer’s shares fell around 6% on Monday after news site El Confidencial reported that Santander (SAN.MC), which owns a stake of 24.55% in the company, offered to fire Clemente last week but failed to garner enough support.

In a statement released after the meeting, the board said it rejected the report, although it added that it had unanimously agreed to launch “a process of reforming the governance to improve it for the benefit of Merlin and its shareholders”.

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No timetable was mentioned for the reform, although the council said it would “set in motion specific mechanisms and concrete measures”.

He added that the board, its chairman and the CEO reiterated mutual respect.

Clemente’s departure “would be very bad news,” investment firm Alantra said in a note to clients.

“Clemente has been the mastermind behind Merlin, the CEO since its inception and the driving force behind its success.”

Listed since 2014, Merlin quickly became one of the main real estate companies on the Iberian Peninsula by taking over the assets of companies hit by the financial crisis more than ten years ago.

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Reporting by Inti Landauro in Madrid Editing by Matthew Lewis

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