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Former Westfield manager Peter Huddle has been appointed to a newly created chief operating officer role for retail property group Vicinity.

The announcement occurred on the same day Vicinity Centres reported a 68.9 per cent profit slump to $235.3 million due to decreased property value and foreign exchange movements.

On Friday Vicinity Centres reported revenue for the six months to December 31 was down half a per cent to $659.3 million bolstered by $670 million sell-off of non-core assets.

The company will pay an interim dividend of 7.95 cents, unfranked, down from 8.1 cents unfranked last year.

Mr Huddle’s appointment forms part of a new executive committee structure Vicinity announced in December. His resume includes 18 years in shopping centre management with Westfield including a stint at the helm of the World Trade Centre redevelopment in New York City.

‘The new role of the COO in our leadership team will sharpen Vicinity’s focus on integrating and streamlining operations, continue to strengthen our approach to intensive asset management and enhance experience-led retailing across the portfolio,’ chief executive Grant Kelley said.

In June Vicinity announced it planned to sell up to $1 billion of medium-sized and neighbourhood shopping centres to fund prestige projects, including The Glen and Box hill Central in Melbourne.

SCA Property Group acquired 10 regional and neighbourhood centres from the retail landlord across NSW, Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria for $573 million in October.

‘Our Flagship assets – Chadstone, our Premium CBD assets, and our DFO portfolio – provide us with an offer to retailers that is unrivalled and is further enhanced by Vicinity being Australia’s largest landlord in the growing luxury retail market,’ Mr Kelley said.

At 1132 AEDT Vicinity shares were flat at $2.57.

VICINITY’S H1 RESULT

* Net profit down 68.9pct to $235.3m

* Revenue down 0.5pct to $659.3m

* Interim dividend down 0.15 cents to 7.95 cents, unfranked