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Change at the top at Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce (RR.) have announced the abrupt departure of CEO John Rishton, although apparently it was his desire to retire and “have a change of lifestyle” that prompted this rather than pressure from the board or from shareholders. It would appear he may not have been enjoying the job of late. After the dismal last set of results it is not a surprise. I commented then (in February) by saying “My view: it may be a great business with great products but they need to do a lot better than this“. They seemed to have a massive number of orders, but be incapable of delivering them for a variety of reasons.

The new CEO will be Warren East, who had a good record at Arm Holdings, and has two advantages. Firstly he has been on the board as a non-executive director for some time, and also has a degree in Engineering.

The share price has been moving up significantly in the last few days (perhaps the news leaked), and is up 3.6% today at the time of writing – it was even higher initially. That tells you what investors thought of the previous CEO who presumably will be able to duck answering any awkward questions at the AGM of the company on the 8th May. A pity because I had some in mind.

Roger Lawson

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