MD to retire in May

Charles Clayton, Cognatum Managing Director, has decided the time has come to retire after 24 years with English Courtyard and latterly Cognatum. He joined The English Courtyard Association in July 1991 following a career as head of property for the Spastics Society (now Scope), where he looked after maintenance and capital projects for the 65 estates including colleges, workshops and housing. He joined English Courtyard in a part-time role while he set up his own company to provide advice to institutional building owners on requirements for disabled users. Thanks to the rapid growth of ECA, he quickly became a full timer and was appointed Regional Manager. He became General Manager in 2000 and MD in 2001, at a time when two or three new schemes were being built each year. With developments spread across the English counties, there was an urgent priority to improve communication with owners and staff. In 2008 following the demise of English Courtyard Developments, he joined Cognatum and began the task of merging English Courtyard and Beechcroft Trust. He said: “These have been happy years and I feel grateful and privileged to have spent much of my career with a company that is so worthwhile and well respected.” Cognatum’s Chairman, Henry Thornton thanked him for the great job he did in bringing the two companies together and wished him well for his retirement in May. He added: “We have been fortunate to have someone at the helm with the experience and ability to make the merger such a success.” The recruitment of a successor is under way. A panel of directors was set up last September to oversee the recruitment of a new managing director, looking for someone with the appropriate background to both lead and grow the company and to build on its reputation for managing top-end retirement estates.