Olver is persuaded to attend BAE briefing

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The Independent Online

Dick Olver has agreed to attend BAE Systems' results presentation tomorrow - his first as chairman of the defence and aerospace giant - after being advised that not appearing would send the wrong message to the City.

Dick Olver has agreed to attend BAE Systems' results presentation tomorrow - his first as chairman of the defence and aerospace giant - after being advised that not appearing would send the wrong message to the City.

Mr Olver, who took over the chairmanship from Sir Dick Evans in July, had not intended to be present at the half-year results briefing for financial and defence correspondents on the grounds that its purpose is to provide an update on the operational performance of the company, not its long-term strategy.

But he has been counselled that failing to appear would beg more questions than it answered and potentially damage his credibility. The position of Sir Philip Watts, the former chairman of Shell, was fatally undermined after he failed to turn up for the tele-conference at which the oil giant dropped the bombshell that reserves were being cut by one-fifth.

BAE will tell investors tomorrow that it has still not decided whether to retain or dispose of its naval shipbuilding yards. Shareholders had hoped for a decision by now. However, the company has still not completed its review of the naval business and is also waiting on the outcome of the Government's own review of the UK's strategic warship building capacity.

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