BAE Systems, the maker of the Eurofighter Typhoon and Britain’s nuclear submarines, has named Charles Woodburn as its new chief operating officer, making him the heir apparent to the outgoing chief executive, Ian King.
Woodburn has worked in the oil and gas industry for more than 20 years and joins BAE from Expro Group, where he was chief executive.
The appointment of Woodburn, a Briton, is likely be welcomed by the government, which is keen for the company to name a British successor to King.
If he becomes chief executive, Woodburn will be tasked with overseeing multibillion-pound engineering projects, potentially including a new generation of submarines to carry the Trident nuclear deterrent.
Woodburn has worked in east Asia, Australia, the US and France, giving him international experience vital for BAE. The company is the third-biggest defence manufacturer in the world, with key markets in the US, Canada and Saudi Arabia.
The position of chief operating officer is a new role at BAE, with King saying that Woodburn will “strengthen and broaden” the management team.
“As a highly qualified engineer with considerable international business experience, Charles will strengthen and broaden the strategic and operational capabilities of the business as a welcome and valuable addition to the leadership team,” King said.
Woodburn said he was looking forward to “contributing to the company’s continued growth and development”. He will be paid a base salary of £750,000 a year and be given more than £1.6m by BAE to buy him out of incentive schemes at Expro.
Sir Roger Carr, the BAE chairman, said: “I am delighted that we have secured an individual of considerable talent and proven industrial experience as part of our succession planning programme.
“Charles will bring fresh perspective to the company’s operations and board, while building a detailed knowledge of the defence industry under the guidance of Ian King.”
This article was written by Graham Ruddick, for theguardian.com on Monday 15th February 2016 12.17 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010