Smiths Group names Buckley as its chairman

BRITISH engineering conglomerate Smiths Group yesterday revealed the appointment of Sir George Buckley as its new chairman.

Sir George, who was head of US manufacturing giant 3M until last year, will join the board in August and formally succeed Donald Brydon after he steps down at the Smiths annual general meeting in November.

He has a doctorate in engineering from the University of Southampton, and was knighted in 2011 for his services to industry.

He has held top positions at boat builder Brunswick Corporation and Emerson Electric Company, and currently sits on the board of several companies including commodities trader Archer-Daniels Midland, electronics and engineering group Hitachi, and PepsiCo.

Upon retiring from Post-it and Scotch tape maker 3M last year, he also took the chairmanship of investment groups Arle Capital Partners and Ownership Capital.

The succession news comes as FTSE 100-listed Smiths Group is said to be in talks to sell its medical unit, which contributed more than 30 per cent of operating profit last year, for approximately £2bn.

Though the firm stressed last month that the talks with an unnamed party were at an early stage, the plans have generated speculation about a possible company break-up or groundwork to become a takeover target.