THE boss of retirement housing giant McCarthy & Stone is to leave the company after it warned of a fall in earnings.

Chief executive Clive Fenton led the Bournemouth-based business through its return to the stock market in 2015.

He cited an “absence” of government support since Brexit as one reason the business needed to embark on a new strategy.

The company said it was expecting full-year profit of £65million-£80m, compared with £96m in 2017. It anticipates between 2,100-2,300 legal completions, against 2,302 last year.

The company’s shares fell 17 per cent following the announcements yesterday.

McCarthy & Stone, which has been calling for government aid for the sector, began a strategic review in April under chairman Paul Lester.

Mr Fenton said: “It has been a great privilege to serve as the chief executive of McCarthy & Stone and to have led the group back to the public market.

“As the undisputed leader in the provision of much-needed retirement housing, we have made great strides in growing the business and increasing supply into the market.

“Unfortunately, since Brexit, in the absence of any government support and now with the additional challenges posed to the business by the proposed ban on ground rents, it is clear that the group must embark on a new strategy to carry it safely through the next five years and beyond.”

He added: “Having reached the age of 60, it is right that I now stand aside at the end of our financial year to enable a new chief executive to be responsible for this journey. Until then, I will remain focussed on delivering the best possible result for the year end and assisting the board with the necessary transition arrangements.”

McCarthy & Stone had earlier reported a good response to new sales outlets at the start of the year.

But it said: “Since this date, however, there has been a noticeable decline in reservation rates as potential customers have exercised more caution due to ongoing economic uncertainty, a slower secondary market and a softening of pricing, particularly in the south east.”

The review of the business will focus on improving margins and return on capital, which will lead to “right-sizing of the group’s cost base”.

Mr Lester said: “Clive joined McCarthy & Stone as our CEO in early 2014, playing an integral role in bringing the group back to the public market and putting in place the solid foundations for the future. I want to thank him on behalf of the board for his leadership and tremendous contribution to our business during this time.”