Key director quits at Rover

THE ROVER director responsible for negotiating radical new working practices has resigned as the BMW parent company takes increasing control over the British-based car-maker.

David Bower, personnel director, is leaving the company after more than 20 years amid rumours that the Rover board is likely to be slimmed down and largely stripped of its powers.

Tony Rose, Rover's deputy chairman, retired recently and other board members are expected to leave as part of a review of the company's operations.

The moves at Rover follow the appointment of Joachim Milberg as chairman of BMW to succeed Bernd Pischetsrieder.

Senior union sources yesterday declared that they were "relaxed" over Mr Bower's resignation, believing that they could "do business" with Harry Dunleavy, who will assume his responsibilities.

Mr Bower, together with Tony Woodley of the Transport and General Workers' Union, agreed a package which introduced unprecedented flexibility into the working procedures of Rover's employees. The British car manufacturer had come under considerable criticism from its German owner over declining profits and low productivity.

As part of the agreement Rover workers have agreed to "annualised" hours so that the Rover plants can cope with peaks and troughs in demand. In return the union elicited a pledge from the company that the present 37 hour week would be reduced to 35.

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