Jones moves to BICC

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Alan Jones, head of GKN's Westland helicopter division, is leaving to be chief executive of the construction and cable group BICC.

The loss of Mr Jones, who fought hard to prevent GKN's takeover of Westland was regarded as a setback for the company.

GKN moved to limit any damage with the simultaneous announcement that Mr Jones will be replaced by David Wright, chief executive of the special vehicles division.

But analysts said Mr Jones was a highly rated and aggressive executive. GKN's shares fell 8p to 578p, while BICC were up 9p at 330p.

The move is likely to herald further changes at BICC, which said it was expected that Robin Biggam, who had been executive chairman for three years, would become part-time chairman in about 12 months.

Mr Jones will be on a two-year rolling contract, and is believed to be on a salary of about £300,000 plus benefits.

GKN had been seen as a potential bidder for BICC, though Mr Jones' move was seen as confirmation that a bid was now unlikely.

Westland was taken over by GKN in 1994, and despite Mr Jones' vigorous defence he was promoted to the board to oversee the integration of the two companies.