LONDON-Two rising stars at Land Securities–Peter Walicknowski and Manish Chande–have quit unexpectedly. The move once again raises questions about Chief Executive Ian Henderson’s ability to groom a successor to take over at the helm of the UK’s biggest property company.

Land Securities directors have been mounting a semi-public succession battle, and Chande is reported in the Financial Times to have threatened to quit if Walicknowski was appointed heir apparent. Now both are leaving, leaving Finance Director Francis Salway as the most obvious successor.

Australian-born Walicknowski joined Land Securities as Director of Strategy and Business Development in September 2000, after having masterminded Lend Lease’s highly successful entry into the European market. Henderson said: ‘As Land Securities is only the second company Peter has worked for, he feels it is the right time to pursue a broader range of experiences…in Europe and elsewhere.’

Chande was one of the founders of outsourcing specialist Trillium in partnership with Goldman Sachs before selling the business to Land Securities in November 2000. He said: ‘Since founding the company five years ago and having worked very hard to build it up I now feel the need to create a greater balance in my professional and personal life.’

Land Securities shares fell 10p on the announcement before rallying to close just 3.5p down at 765p.

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