Mark Leftly: Conflict of interest and the MoD contracts
Mark Leftly is political correspondent at The Independent on Sunday and associate business editor across the Independent titles. He writes a weekly column, Parliamentary Business, published on a Wednesday, that covers politics and the City. He is a multi-award winning reporter and was named Press Gazette's business magazine journalist of the year prior to joining The Independent on Sunday.
Wednesday 21 August 2013
Outlook The retirement of Linda Hudson, the chief executive at BAE's US division, has rightly grabbed the headlines given her star status in the defence industry, but the resignation yesterday of a non-executive director is arguably of far wider significance.
Last month, The Independent on Sunday revealed the extraordinary conflicts of interest facing the companies that want to run the £14bn budget Ministry of Defence agency that buys aircraft carriers, tanks and missiles. This huge quasi-privatisation could see companies that work for BAE and its rivals being responsible for dishing out contracts to them, too.
One of the clearest conflicts was that Lee McIntire was a non-executive director at BAE while at the same time being chairman and CEO of CH2M Hill, the US engineering giant that is heading one of the two consortiums bidding to take over Defence Equipment & Support. At the time of our investigation, Mr McIntire conceded that he would "of course" give up his board seat at BAE.
However, that process is well over a year from completion. By quitting at a far earlier time – and BAE itself said the reason was "to avoid any potential conflict of interest" – the Nebraska University graduate has proved that these issues must be resolved by the other companies involved, which include the already reputationally challenged Serco.
The MoD must not wait to sort out the web of conflicts until after bidding has concluded. Handing over the coffers to buy the nation's battle-gear to the for-profit sector is already far too great a risk without the perception that members of the winning consortium will do favours for their mates, whether that be the case or not.
- 1 Dentist who illegally killed Cecil the lion blames local guides for the scandal
- 2 Kate Winslet thanked 'particularly horrible' girl who bullied her at school after Titanic success
- 5 Walter Palmer: American dentist revealed as the killer of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe
Dentist who illegally killed Cecil the lion blames local guides for the scandal
Kate Winslet thanked 'particularly horrible' girl who bullied her at school after Titanic success
Norwich paedophile ring: Woman at centre of gang who made children 'sexual play things' guilty of 23 offences
Black and ethnic minority people twice as likely to be hit by Tory cuts than white people, report finds
Walter Palmer: American dentist revealed as the killer of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
The last thing Labour needs is a leader like Jeremy Corbyn who people want to vote for
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
iJobs Money & Business
£22500 - £24500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Inbound and outbound calls with...
£18000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Insurance Bro...
£40 - 45k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Research Associate / Research Anal...
£20000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Summary: The Green Recruitm...