Meritage Homes Corporation has announced that its co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer, Steven J. Hilton, will retire as CEO effective Jan. 1, 2021.
He will continue to guide and oversee in his role as the executive chairman of Meritage’s board of directors, according to a press release, noting how he served as chairman and CEO since co-founding the company in 1985. Phillippe Lord, the chief operating officer of Meritage Homes, has been appointed to serve as CEO upon Mr. Hilton’s retirement.
Meritage Homes is celebrating its 35th anniversary under Mr. Hilton’s leadership and grew from a local startup in Scottsdale to its current position noted to be among the largest, respected national public homebuilders in the country. During Mr. Hilton’s tenure, Meritage expanded across nine states through acquisitions and start-up operations in more than 20 metropolitan markets.
He established Meritage as the leader in energy-efficient homebuilding since 2010 and has driven Meritage to deliver more than 130,000 homes and achieve a market capitalization in excess of $3.5 billion.
“Steve is one of the very few entrepreneurs to launch a business and grow it into a successful multi-billion-dollar public company, earning the respect of his peers, employees and industry leaders for his passion and innovation,” said Peter Ax, Meritage Homes lead independent director, in a prepared statement.
“He successfully navigated Meritage through the most difficult housing market in American history and has worked closely with the Board of Directors to create this succession plan and chart a course to achieve even greater accomplishments in the coming years. As the executive chairman of Meritage’s board, he will continue to provide valuable experience and counsel to management and the board members.”
After Mr. Hilton’s retirement, Mr. Lord will succeed him as Meritage Homes CEO. He joined Meritage in 2008, using his market expertise to create the company’s strategic operations and market research department, responsible for providing analysis and recommendations on land acquisitions, product and pricing.
He was later promoted to west region president and became chief operating officer in 2015, the release noted.
“Phillippe’s vision, energy, innovative thought processes and exceptional leadership competencies make him the ideal choice to lead Meritage as CEO,” said Mr. Hilton in a prepared statement.
“He was instrumental in formulating and implementing our strategy to focus on the entry-level and first move-up markets, while driving operational excellence throughout our organization.
I feel confident that Meritage will continue to be an innovative leader while providing extraordinary quality and value to our customers under his stewardship.”