City heavyweights in the running for BAE chairman

Michael Bow
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EUROPE’S biggest defence contractor BAE Systems has stepped up its hunt for a new chairman as two of the City’s biggest names emerge as frontrunners for one of the FTSE’s top boardroom jobs.

Former Rolls Royce chief executive Sir John Rose and the former chairman of energy giant Centrica Sir Roger Carr are understood to have been sounded out about succeeding Dick Olver, who is due to step down in May 2014.

A source close to the process last night said recruitment was in its early phase but Olver could relinquish control of the chairmanship early if a successor is found before he is due to step down.

“There’s only a finite number of people who could do a job like this,” said the source.

BAE has appointed its independent director Nick Rose to lead the search for the new chairman.

Olver was the subject of a shareholder revolt late last year led by top fund manager Neil Woodford, who runs money for Invesco Perpetual, over a potential tie-up with BAE’s fellow aerospace giant EADS.

Both Rose and Carr have held a number of big City jobs. Carr has previously been chairman of British giants such as Cadbury, Thames Water and Mitchells and Butlers while Rose, who is currently deputy chairman of Rothschild Group, led Rolls Royce from 1996 up until his departure in 2011.