Given Dick’s plans for the future, we knew this time last year that we would be running this process around now, and that responsibility for overseeing that would fall to whoever succeeded Sir Peter Mason in the Senior Independent Director’s role. In my new role I am working closely with fellow board members on this task.
If you have read the Annual Report you will have seen the statement I made on the Chairman’s succession process in the Nominations Committee Report. In that I note the importance of the role of chairman for any large listed company but I also highlight the added significance it has in BAE Systems. Here - perhaps more so than in any other company - the chairman represents the company at the highest level and as Dick has shown, a good Chairman is critical to building key relationships that assist in developing our strategy and important customer relationships worldwide. Make no mistake: this is a big job.
We have committed to managing the search process in accordance with best practice, including engaging with important stakeholders – and that’s why I wanted to update you on this matter today.
This role is pivotal to the success of the Company and we are committed to making sure that, whoever we choose, is the right person for the job. Right in terms of board leadership, right in terms of knowledge and experience, and the right person to be a worldwide ambassador for BAE Systems.
Also, when we look at the job description, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the individuals at the very top of the Company must set the tone, and be exemplars of the values and standards of behaviours that we expect everyone associated with BAE Systems to follow.
Dick Olver will shortly enter his tenth year as Chairman of BAE Systems, and in that time he has been an exemplar of those exacting standards – in deed, he has played a critical role in setting the values and providing the strength of leadership required to transform this Company through the application of the highest standards of responsible business behaviour.
At the same time, Dick’s passion and commitment to skills, training and education, has been instrumental in positioning the Company to attract and nurture the high-value talent that we will need to drive innovation and growth in the future.
We are getting on with the search, and I expect we will be able to make an announcement on the outcome of this in due course.