ENGINEER GKN has appointed Nigel Stein chief executive designate ahead of the retirement of Sir Kevin Smith, the company announced yesterday.
Stein has been at the heart of the car parts and aerospace supplier after being put in charge of the automotive division in 2007.
He is seen as a safe pair of hands who analysts suggested had been lined up for the job to ensure a smooth transition.
The company has seen sales rises in recent market updates as the fortunes of car manufacturers like Toyota start to improve.
Sir Kevin Smith said: “I am pleased to announce the above changes which will provide the executive leadership for the next stage of the company’s development.”
The firm added that responsibility for GKN’s automotive business will be assumed by Andrew Reynolds Smith, currently responsible for powder metallurgy and land systems.
Stein will officially take over the reins from 1 January next year.