Lewinton forced to give up Smiths chairmanship

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The Independent Online

Sir Christopher Lewinton yesterday decided not to take up the chairman role at the merged TI Group and Smiths Industries, following a storm of protest over his £5m pay-off in the poorly received deal.

Sir Christopher Lewinton yesterday decided not to take up the chairman role at the merged TI Group and Smiths Industries, following a storm of protest over his £5m pay-off in the poorly received deal.

The long-serving chairman of TI, Sir Christopher was named chairman of the enlarged group when the merger was announced last month. Despite the fact that Sir Christopher planned to stay with the merged company, as non-executive chairman, the technical change of control at TI meant that he would receive a £3m cash payout to cover the terms of his two-year contract. He also has a share options package worth about £2m.

Smiths is the senior partner in the merger, which shareholders will vote on next month. Keith Orwell-Jones, chairman of Smiths, will now be chairman of the enlarged company.

Michael Blogg, analyst at Charterhouse Securities, said: "Shareholders would have been very surprised at the proposal that Christopher Lewinton could be chairman of the enlarged group and still collect a severance payment. His removal does diffuse one of the criticisms of the merger."

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