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Unite group property director to become Watkin Jones CEO

Richard Simpson is set to depart as group property director of student housing-focused real estate investment trust Unite Group PLC to join Watkin Jones PLC as its CEO, effective Jan. 2, 2019.

Simpson will stay with Unite as part of his gardening leave until Dec. 31 and will subsequently leave the company to replace Mark Jones at Watkins, who first announced his retirement Jan. 15.

Unite noted in a separate release that it is promoting its current property director, Nick Hayes, to replace Simpson. However, Hayes will not be appointed to the company's board of directors, with the company clarifying that it does not intend to replace Simpson's board position.