Bob Toll, co-founder and CEO of the U.S. luxury homebuilder bearing his name and best known for its McMansions, announced his resignation on Monday, and will be replaced by a non-family member who has worked for the company for 20 years.
Toll Brothers , the national homebuilder most closely associated with the spread of ornate and outsized single-family homes on sprawling suburban lots, said the election of Executive Vice President Douglas Yearley Jr. as CEO, effective June 16, does not signal a shift in strategy.
We're going to keep doing what we do, which is focus on the luxury buyer, Yearley told Reuters.
Yearley, 50, joined the company in 1990 and made his name by acquiring land from banks and the government-owned Resolution Trust Corporation, which disposed of real-estate that had been assets of failed savings and loan associations in the early 1990s.
One of the industry's most colorful leaders, Toll co-founded his company with brother Bruce in 1967, has served as CEO since then and will remain an active chairman of the board. Wall Street considered Toll the soul of his company, wrote Ticonderoga Securities analyst Stephen East in a client note.
I'm not getting a pass to slip out the back, Jack, Toll joked.
He salts his conversation with Yiddish expressions, trumpets his left-leaning politics and made hundreds of millions in stock sales and compensation during both the housing boom and bust.
At 69, Toll is also among the older of the old guard in an industry that has seen the recent departure of other founding CEOs, such as Bill Pulte of PulteGroup and Kervork Hovnanian of Hovnanian Enterprises Inc , who died in 2009.
Toll's physical involvement likely did not match his presence felt within the organization in recent years, East wrote.
The man and the company both had famously avid appetites for land acquisition and development opportunities even during housing slumps like the current one, even now when much of the industry shies away from that most risky side of the business.
Indeed, Yearley established his reputation at the company on the land side. He initiated the purchase of a tract of land in West Windsor, New Jersey, near Princeton University, whose development turned a huge profit due to its cut-rate purchase price and access to transit and jobs.
There were big successes, East wrote of Yearley's record, but also some strategies that did not work well, such as entering the upper Midwest.
Yearley has also overseen Toll Brothers' marketing and brand development group.
The company's shares closed down 0.1 percent at $20.88 on the New York Stock Exchange.
The fifteenth-largest U.S. builder by sales, it is the largest builder of luxury homes.
(Reporting by Helen Chernikoff; editing by Leslie Gevirtz, Gary Hill)