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BAE Systems appoints new chairman

Sir Roger Carr will succeed Dick Olver in the first quarter of 2014.

The British defence and aerospace company BAE Systems has announced the appointment of Sir Roger Carr as its chairman designate and non-executive director, effective 1 October 2013, as part of its efforts to drive growth during the time of budget cuts in the UK and US.

Carr, the 66-year old veteran, will succeed Dick Olver as chairman in the first quarter of 2014.

Carr is currently the chairman of the British integrated energy firm Centrica. Prior to this, he was president of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). He also serves as deputy chairman and senior independent director of the Court of the Bank of England and  is a member of the UK Prime Minister’s business advisory group.

Carr, in an interview with the Financial Times, said that he did not intend to shift completely from the company’s present strategy of steadily expanding the business worldwide.

Olver oversaw BAE Systems’ $45bn failed attempt to merge with EADS, the owner of Airbus. This merger would have given the firm a commercial advantage.

BAE is currently trying to generate revenues by focusing on international sales and niche segments such as cyber security following budget cuts from its largest customers - the UK and US.

Nick Rose, senior independent director of BAE Systems, said: “Sir Roger Carr is the unanimous choice of the nominations committee and his proposed appointment has been warmly endorsed by the entire board.

“Dick Olver has been an excellent chairman at BAE Systems, and has led wide-ranging cultural and governance changes within the Company. Dick told the Board some time ago of his intention to leave to pursue other interests and, with typical generosity, has agreed to stay on until the first quarter next year, to ensure a smooth handover across our international footprint and our global markets. ”

Carr said: “I feel privileged to be offered this role and look forward with real enthusiasm to working with the Board in shaping the future of this great company. BAE Systems is strategically important not just for the UK but internationally, playing a key role in the defence industry in the US and in other parts of the world.

“I have long admired the company which has a remarkable heritage for innovation and technology.  It is well-positioned in a rapidly evolving industry to face uncertainties around defence budgets and has great opportunities in new geographies and technologies.  It is my intention to build on these strong foundations in the years ahead.”

After nine years of service, Carr will leave Centrica as chairman  on or before the company’s annual general meeting in 2014.

Olver said: “I am delighted to hand over to Sir Roger who is an outstanding leader for this very important and complex world-class company. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at BAE Systems and I want to particularly commend the workforce and the executive team under the leadership of Ian King.  BAE Systems’ employees form a remarkable pool of trained, expert talent.”