BAE Systems Plc

This campaign was launched in October 2012, following abandonment of the proposed merger with EADS. The following information was issued in a press release:

ShareSoc Calls for Change at the Top of BAE Systems Plc

Following the collapse of the merger talks between BAE Systems and EADS, ShareSoc launched a campaign which called for the Chairman and Chief Executive of the company to step down. In our view the idea that this merger would gain the widespread support of shareholders (including the votes controlled by other European Governments in EADS) was misconceived from the beginning. In addition we had seen no good business justification put forward for the merger, and it potentially created major threats to the high cash flow and dividend streams from which shareholders in BAE benefit.

ShareSoc therefore invited Chairman Dick Olver and Chief Executive Ian King to step down as soon as possible, and we opposed their re-election at the next Annual General Meeting. We also suggested that all the non-executive directors who supported the merger should resign and be replaced before the next AGM (it is they who should have provided the wisdom to call a halt to this idea at an early stage).

In summary, this merger was misconceived, mishandled and simply a mistake. The directors of BAE who promoted it should have accepted responsibility and resigned. BAE clearly needed a new leadership team that could develop an alternative solution to the strategic challenges the company faced.

ShareSoc issued a Press Release which gives more details and justification for our comments. Click on this link to read: Press040 . 

Note: that on the morning we issued our press release, an article was published in the Financial Times indicating that a group of institutional investors had written to BAE calling for the resignation of Dick Olver and Sir Peter Mason (the senior independent director). The reported content of the letter seemed to be similar to our reasons for demanding change. 

Update 1 (2/11/2012): A report in the FT suggested that Dick Olver might step down before the next AGM and a successor was being looked for. But a conversation with him indicated this is definitely not the case.

Note that on the 16th November the company announced that Senior Independent Director Sir Peter Mason will retire at the AGM next May. This is not necessarily in response to calls for him to resign because his term of appointment was due to end in January so, according to the Chairman, he was always due to be replaced anyway. Director Nick Rose is taking over the role. 

Update 2 (22/12/2012): This note was issued to supporters regarding the recent announcements from BAE: Update_2

Update 3 (21/1/2013): This note covers an article published in the Daily Mail on BAE Systems:Update_3

Update 4 (21/2/2013): The following note was issued after the announcement of BAE’s preliminary results for the 2012 financial year. In summary the results show that BAE still faces major strategic challenges although there were some aspects of the results that might have pleased shareholders. See: Update_4

Update 5 (31/3/2013): AGM Voting Recommendations. We recommend shareholders vote against the re-election of Chairman Dick Olver on the 8th May, and against the Remuneration Report and some of the other resolutions. See this note for more information: Update_5

Update 6 (9/5/2013): AGM Report. Olver’s swansong disrupted by political activists. See this note for a report on the Annual General Meeting: Update_6

Note that with Mr Olver departing and the EADS merger unlikely to be revisited, we therefore consider this campaign has been successful. On that basis we consider the campaign concluded unless further issues arise on this company.

Latest NewsFurther news on this campaign will be posted here as it arises.

Note: this campaign is now closed. Use the Contact page if you have any questions on it.