Island-based Rich List billionaire John Whittaker has reportedly stepped down as deputy chairman and non-executive director of the beleaguered shopping landlord Intu.

According to Property Week, Mr Whittaker stood down the day Intu went into administration along with all of the company’s non-executive directors except David Hargrave, who was hired as chief restructuring officer of the business in May.

It is understood Mr Whittaker, who is chairman of the Peel Group, has not been attending board meetings for the last three to four months.

There had been growing speculation in business circles over Mr Whittaker’s next steps.

After selling the Trafford Centre near Manchester in 2011, to Intu, which was then known as Capital Shopping Centres, Mr Whittaker received a 25% stake in the business and a seat on the board.

The shopping centre landlord, which operates 17 centres around the UK including the Trafford Centre, went into administration after last-ditch discussions to save the business failed.

KPMG is acting as administrators for Intu.

Options are being considered over the shopping centre’s future and there had been rumours that Mr Whittaker himself would buy back the Trafford Centre.

Mr Whittaker leads Peel Holdings and the Trafford Centre was the group’s first landmark development.

Peel went on to develop MediaCity UK in Salford, Liverpool John Lennon Airport and Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

And Peel Holdings still retains its head office at the centre.

Earlier this year we reported that Mr Whittaker, who owns Billown Mansion in Ballabeg, was nursing a drop of £350m in his wealth but he and his family are still worth £1.6bn, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

The businessman has had the biggest fall in fortune of the island’s super-rich who include four billionaires.

Mr Whittaker and his family are now in 90th position in the 2020 list. It’s the second decrease in two years after a fall of £300m in 2019.