BAE Systems has appointed Centrica boss Roger Carr to replace Dick Olver as its chairman. (Will Oliver / AFP)
LONDON — BAE Systems has appointed Centrica boss Roger Carr to replace Dick Olver as its chairman, Europe’s top defense contractor announced today.
Carr, 66, will take over during the first quarter of next year. He
has been chairman at Centrica, a leading British energy group, for nine years. Until recently, he was also president of the CBI, Britain’s chief business lobby group.
Carr’s extensive business credentials include being chairman of confectionary maker Cadbury during the controversial takeover of the company by US foods giant Kraft. He has no defense industry experience.
One of Britain’s most senior businessmen, Carr will become a nonexecutive director in October and will succeed Olver by the end of March 2014.
Nick Rose, senior independent director at BAE and the man who led the search for a new chairman, said in a statement that Carr was the “outstanding candidate with two decades of board-level experience at the top of British industry. His skills, reputation and relationship with investors and government ministers will be of considerable value both at home and abroad.”
Carr takes up the BAE post at a difficult time, with defense spending in the US and the UK in decline and competition for export work becoming increasingly cutthroat.
Olver, appointed as chairman in July 2004, came under pressure to quit last year after the company’s failed attempt to merge with EADS. He also played a significant role in helping BAE through a series of corruption allegations in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.
Rose said the outgoing chairman has been “excellent” and has led BAE through wide-ranging cultural and governance changes.