Rolls-Royce Aerospace Chief Mark King Resigns

The head of Rolls-Royce's aerospace division has resigned just four months after being promoted to lead the division beset by bribery and corruption allegations.

Rolls said Mark King, who joined the company in 1986, would leave by the end of June.

Rolls did not provide a reason for the surprise departure in its stock-exchange announcement on Thursday. When pressed, a spokeswoman said King was leaving for personal reasons.

She declined to state whether his departure was related to the Serious Fraud Office's (SFO) investigation into alleged multimillion bribery payments in Indonesia and China.

The claims, raised by former Rolls employee Dick Taylor, include allegations that the company gave the son of Indonesia's former president $20m (£13m) and a car to persuade the national airline, Garuda, to order Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines. The majority of the claims date to the 80s and 90s.

Rolls, which is co-operating with the investigation, has appointed Lord Gold, the City lawyer and Conservative peer, to review its compliance procedures. The chief executive, John Rishton, said the company would not tolerate improper business conduct of any sort.

Rolls and the SFO are reportedly close to reaching a civil settlement to halt the bribery inquiry. Any agreement would probably involve a multimillion-pound fine, but avoid criminal charges. Rolls declined to comment on the speculation.

King will be replaced by Tony Wood, head of the company's ship-engine business, on 13 May. Aerospace is the biggest of Rolls's divisions and accounted for more than 70% of its £12.2bn revenues in 2012.

The company said it was on track to report good growth in underlying profit in 2013, after a strong first quarter from its civil aerospace unit, including a $1.6bn order from IAG, the British Airways owner, for its Trent XWB engines to power 18 new Airbus A350 jets.

Powered by article was written by Rupert Neate, for on Thursday 2nd May 2013 10.39 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


image: © C.P.Storm

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