REAL ESTATE - Land Securities last week announced the unexpected departure of chief operating officer Mark Collins, in what a spokeswoman described as "a positive endorsement" of its restructuring programme.

In a statement, Europe’s largest property firm said a two-year restructuring programme had made the COO role redundant.

Collins will leave at the end of November "in order to ensure a smooth transition to the new reporting lines within the group". He will not be replaced and no information was available on his likely future plans.

Land Securities spokeswoman Emma Denne acknowledged that his departure had not been planned when the company launched its restructuring programme in 2004. "Events happen," she said. "Operational reporting lines have changed. We’re no longer a diversified business and the role is no longer required."

However, she said the move indicated that the restructuring had worked. "We see it as a positive endorsement," she said.

Under the programme, the company focused on three business units: portfolio management, development and property outsourcing.

In September, Paul Myners, the former Gartmore chief and pioneer of transparency in institutional investment, joined as chairman of the firm, which has a portfolio worth £12.9bn.