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BAT under fire over chairman

INVESTORS last night expressed disquiet at the appointment of Richard Burrows as the next chair of British American Tobacco (BAT) less than two months after he stood down as governor of the Bank of Ireland following massive losses.<br /><br />Burrows will be stepping into the role on 1 November following the retirement of Jan du Plessis, who has taken the chair at the world&rsquo;s second largest miner, Rio Tinto.<br /><br />Standard Life, which owns a 1.4 per cent stake in BAT, criticised the appointment.<br /><br />&ldquo;At a time when stewardship is in sharp focus, it is questionable whether this appointment will enjoy unanimous support,&rdquo; it said.<br /><br />And activist shareholder body PIRC yesterday said it wanted to see &ldquo;a clear statement on how exactly BAT has... taken into account his recent significant corporate failings&rdquo;.<br /><br />During his stint as governor of the Bank of Ireland, Burrows oversaw the near-collapse of the institution. He stepped down after the bank posted a &euro;7m pre-tax loss, forcing it to accept a bailout from the Irish government.<br /><br />BAT said Burrows&rsquo; appointment had received &ldquo;broad support.&rdquo;