David Prosser: The businessman who should be signed up

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The Independent Online

Outlook It was typically modest of Sir John Rose, the chief executive of Rolls-Royce, to ensure he was out of the country on the day the company announced his retirement. While senior figures from industry and politics were paying tribute to his 14 years at the helm of Rolls-Royce, Sir John was too busy addressing 100 of the company's senior managers at a conference in Seattle to make a public appearance.

Sir John's absence also meant he avoided all the questions about what he might do next. There will certainly be a next – aged only 57, Sir John remains full of energy and has plenty still to contribute.

A blue-chip chairmanship would be the obvious move. There has already been speculation he might be the ideal man to replace Sir John Bond at Vodafone, who many expect to stand down next year.

However, if it is smart, theGovernment will try to secure his services – and not just by adding his name to its new talking shop. It is understood that Sir John turned down the role of trade minister over the summer, but that should be no bar to asking him to serve in some other capacity.

Mr Cable says he wants to transform Britain's economy, lessening our dependence on financial services in favour of rebuilding a high-tech manufacturing sector. Armed with the experience of having run Britain's preeminent high-tech manufacturer for so long, Sir John talks eloquently and passionately about how exactly that goal might be achieved. The Business Secretary should give him an opportunity to turn vision into reality.

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