GKN's new chief executive is leaving the company before he's started as firm braces for bigger write-off

Rebecca Smith
The engineering firm has announced a leadership shake-up
The engineering firm has announced a leadership shake-up (Source: GKN)

The incoming chief executive of GKN has left the engineering group before taking up his new role, the firm said today, as it revealed another hit of up to £130m in its North American aerospace arm.

Shares were down more than eight per cent in morning trading.

Kevin Cummings, the head of GKN's aerospace business, had been selected in September to replace outgoing boss Nigel Stein, and was set to take the reins from 1 January 2018.

Only the company announced today that that decision had been swiftly aborted, saying the GKN board had decided the next stage of the company's development "is best delivered under alternative leadership".

Read more: GKN shares plunge as it brings trading update forward to warn on profits

"As a result, Kevin Cummings, previously CEO designate, will leave the board and GKN with immediate effect," the firm said.

Further write-off on the cards

GKN also announced a review of working capital is underway across its aerospace plants in North America, and now foresees that resulting in a write-off to be £80m-£130m, "much of which built up before 2017".

Previously, the company said it had expected to write off £15m on its Alabama facility.

The firm said guidance for the full year remains unchanged, aside from the further hit. The engineering giant said in October that its full-year profits will be "slightly above" last year's.

The company said last month that it "has been made aware of two probable claims which are expected to result in a charge of around £40m in the fourth quarter of 2017". One relates to GKN Aerospace and the other GKN Driveline, the firm said, adding: "Both claims are commercially sensitive with no additional information disclosable at this time."

Leadership shake-up

Non-executive director and the former chief executive of Carpenter Technology, Anne Stevens, has now been asked to take on the role of interim chief executive from 1 January, until a successor is found. Stein will step down as planned, at the end of December.

Stevens previously worked at Ford for 16 years, and is currently a non-executive director of Anglo American, Lockheed Martin, and XL Group.

The switch around will also see Hans Büthker, formerly the chief executive of Fokker Technologies, take up his new role as chief executive of GKN aerospace immediately.

GKN said the nominations committee will now lead an internal and external search process, along with external consultants, to find a successor as chief executive.

Read more: GKN's chief executive Nigel Stein will retire at the end of the year

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