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Rolls-Royce begins search for next chairman

LaToya Harding
·Contributor
·3-min read
08 April 2020, Bavaria, Nuremberg: A Rolls Royce aircraft engine can be seen on a plane at Albrecht Dürer Airport Nuremberg. Photo: Daniel Karmann/dpa (Photo by Daniel Karmann/picture alliance via Getty Images)
08 April 2020, Bavaria, Nuremberg: A Rolls Royce aircraft engine can be seen on a plane at Albrecht Dürer Airport Nuremberg. Photo: Daniel Karmann/dpa (Photo by Daniel Karmann/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Rolls-Royce (RR.L) has kicked off a search for its next chairman to find a successor for outgoing Sir Ian Davis, it has emerged.

The appointment, which is unlikely to be announced until after the new year, could pave the way for the company’s first foreign chairman since its privatisation in 1987.

According to Sky News, the search is still at a very early stage. At the time of publishing there was no formal suggestion that Rolls Royce would opt to appoint a foreign chairman over a British one.

“The chairman will have served nine years in March 2022 and it is best practice that he will stand down by then,” a Rolls-Royce spokesperson told Yahoo Finance. “The board will ensure an orderly transition.”

Sir Ian was first appointed as chairman of the group in May 2013. The embattled aircraft engine-maker is also looking for a new finance chief after Stephen Daintith’s resignation to join online grocer Ocado (OCDO.L).

It comes as Rolls continues to stage a recovery from the chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The firm’s shares have halved over the last year but have recovered in recent weeks due to optimism surrounding international air travel.

The firm’s shares have halved over the last year but have recovered in recent weeks due to optimism surrounding international air travel.
The firm’s shares have halved over the last year but have recovered in recent weeks due to optimism surrounding international air travel.

On Friday, the manufacturer said it had managed to find cash mitigation worth £1bn ($1.3bn) in 2020 and was on track to deliver lasting savings of £1.3bn by 2022.

Rolls-Royce said its aerospace business was slowly recovering while its defence division remained resilient and power systems were showing early signs of recovery.

“We have taken decisive actions to protect and reposition our business in difficult and uncertain trading conditions, including the impact from a second wave of COVID-19,” chief executive Warren East said. “The outlook remains challenging and the pace and timing of the recovery is uncertain.

“However, our actions have given us a strong foundation to deliver better returns as our end markets improve and we continue to drive our ambition of delivering more sustainable power to support the creation of a net zero carbon economy."

Last month the plane engine-maker also revealed it had sold 94% of new shares in a £2bn rights issue to survive the crisis facing the global aviation industry.

READ MORE: Rolls-Royce closes factory as jobs cull continues

The company is seeking to raise a total of £5bn to shore up its finances, as demand for its parts and servicing has plummeted amid an unprecedented collapse in air travel.

Earlier, it confirmed it was looking to cut 950 jobs within its civil aerospace arm worldwide, and another 420 across its facilities teams.

The leading manufacturer of plane parts had announced in May it would axe 9,000 roles worldwide, including 3,000 roles in the UK. The cuts announced last month fall within that tally as the company seeks to drastically rein in costs. More than 2,500 staff have already taken voluntary severance since the crisis began.

Watch: Rolls-Royce to create 6,000 jobs to build 16 mini nuclear power stations