Ex-Babcock chief given pounds 646,000

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The Independent Online
OLIVER Whitehead, former chief executive of Babcock International, has received pounds 646,000 in compensation. He was forced off the board, chaired by Lord King of British Airways, in April after a disagreement about strategy at the engineering company.

At the same time it was disclosed that David McErlain was paid pounds 515,000 when he left the chairmanship of Anglo United, the fuel distributor. Mr McErlain left Anglo in March, at the end of a financial year in which Anglo lost pounds 30m and cancelled its dividend payment.

Under his auspices Anglo ran up high borrowings, partly through the leveraged acquisition of the Coalite smokeless fuel company in 1989. Mr McErlain left as part of a restructuring plan that reduced Anglo's heavy debt burden.

He was paid pounds 250,000 for the year to March 1993. In addition he received a pounds 74,000 lump sum in compensation for loss of office and pounds 441,000 to top up his pension.

Mr Whitehead's resignation from Babcock came just after the close of a disappointing financial year. In the 12 months to 31 March, Babcock's pre-tax profits slumped to pounds 21m from pounds 56m in the previous year. Earnings per share also fell sharply and the dividend was cut by one- third.

One of Babcock's subsidiary companies manages the Rosyth dockyard, which last week lost the contract to re-fit the Trident submarines.