Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

A mere two months after being re-elected to the board of New York-listed Textainer, one of the world’s largest lessors of shipping containers, group president and CEO Philip Brewer has announced his retirement.

The unexpected announcement was issued ahead of the AGM of Textainer’s single largest shareholder Trencor, which will be held on Tuesday.

Trencor, which holds 48% of Textainer, has come under pressure to do something about the ongoing poor performance of its largest investment.

Brewer, who has been with Textainer for 22 years, was appointed CEO in 2011. Shortly after his appointment the performance of the group, which was then the largest lessor of shipping containers in the world, started to deteriorate. The group lost its top position to Triton and its return on equity declined to a low of 3% in 2017 compared with Triton’s 16%.

Disappointing  results

The announcement of Brewer’s retirement comes days after a conference call with analysts held to discuss the group’s disappointing second-quarter results. In the three months to end-June profit per share increased to $0.31c, a significant increase on the comparative quarter in 2017, but was about 14% below market expectations.

Return on equity doubled to 6% but 18 months into the upturn in shipping, investors were not satisfied and knocked the share price.

The Trencor share price has followed Textainer’s downward trajectory for much of the past five years. On Monday Trencor closed at R32.50, slightly off its five-year low of R30.90.

In a statement on Monday Brewer said it had been a privilege to work with the industry’s most dedicated group of professionals. "Given Textainer’s improving financial performance, strong financial position and a customer base which is increasingly relying on container lessors for support, I believe the time is right for Textainer to move forward with a new CEO."

Executive vice-president Olivier Ghesquiere has been appointed president and CEO.