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Business News

Chemring shake-up as new chief ejects finance boss


After only two months at the helm of defence firm Chemring, new chief executive Mark Papworth today used the firm’s own ejector seats, replacing his finance boss and appointing a head of human resources in a boardroom shake-up.

It comes weeks after investors branded the aerospace equipment-maker “a mess” after private equity firm Carlyle Group abandoned takeover plans at the FTSE 250 company. Carlyle had initially approached Chemring in August but after the munitions and pyrotechnics group issued two profit warnings, replaced boss David Price, who had been at the firm since 2005, and admitted to contract delays, the buyout group walked away.

Papworth - formerly head of gas turbine services at FTSE 100 energy firm Wood Group - replaced Price, and he made his mark on the management team today, replacing interim finance boss Nigel Young, in the job since July, with Steve Bowers, formerly finance director of composite material group Umeco.

Peter Hickson, Chemring chairman, said: “After Mark Papworth’s recent arrival as chief executive, Steve’s appointment is another important step in strengthening our executive management team, as we commit to rebuilding operational and financial performance.”

Papworth also hired Jim Devine - human resources director at British Gas-owner Centrica - as group HR director and described him as “a very important addition to our senior management”.

Shares in Chemring rose 3.5 per cent or 8.3p to 246.6p - well off the 414p price of a share when bid interest emerged over summer.