Marshall moves into the chair at Inchcape

Former BA chief executive parachutes into soft landing four days after stepping down
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The Independent Online
NIGEL COPE

Just four days after he stepped down as chief executive of British Airways, Sir Colin Marshall has already landed on a new corporate runway. He was yesterday named as the new chairman of Inchcape, the struggling motor distributor and marketing group. He joins the board with immediate effect and will replace Sir David Plastow as non-executive chairman on 1 January

He will be paid pounds 200,000 a year for a 1.5 to two-day week. He will continue to spend two days a week at BA as chairman, although his modified BA salary has not yet been decided. Inchcape says it will share Sir Colin's car and chauffeur expenses with BA. He will receive no bonuses or share options.

Sir Colin, 61, will also take up the presidency of the Confederation of British Industry next May and there was immediate criticism that he is taking on too much. He accepted as much yesterday and said that although he intends to keep his non-executive directorships of BT and the banking group HSBC, he may relinquish some of his other committee positions.

Commenting on his swift acceptance of another chairmanship, Sir Colin said: "You have to seize these opportunities when they come in life."

Inchcape said they were delighted to recruit Sir Colin, whom they have been courting for three months. Charles Mackay, the chief executive, said: "He has pre-eminent qualities for the job. He is very much a marketing man and we are a marketing company. He also has strong background in customer service and has the confidence of the City."

Sir Colin's appointment renews several long-standing acquaintances. Charles Mackay has sat on the same board as Sir Colin at both HSBC and BA. At Inchcape Sir Colin will sit at the same board table as Liam Strong, who is a non-executive director and was formerly marketing director of BA.

Although Inchcape shares closed 7p lower at 295p, the appointment was greeted positively in the City. Inchcape's shares have underperformed the FT-SE all-share index by 56 per cent over the last three years. It has shocked the market with a series of profit warnings hit by the high yen.

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