Rolls-Royce chooses Simon Robertson as its new chairman

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The Independent Online

Simon Robertson, one of the best-known investment bankers in the City, was yesterday named as the new chairman of the aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce.

He will take over the post from January next year, succeeding the former Conservative Cabinet minister Lord Moore, who has been acting as temporary chairman since last December after Euan Baird was forced to give up the role through ill health.

Mr Robertson, 63, is president of Goldman Sachs Europe and a managing director of the US investment bank. Before joining Goldmans in 1997, he worked for Kleinwort Benson where he advised the Government on a number of major privatisations, including the sale of the electricity industry. He also advised industrial clients such as BAE Systems.

Mr Robertson is also a non-executive director of the car dealership Inchcape and the engineering group Invensys. However, he has agreed to give up these two board positions next year so that he can concentrate more fully on his new job at Rolls-Royce.

His appointment comes at an important time for Rolls-Royce with the UK aero-engine maker having just been selected to provide Trent engines to the launch customer for the new Boeing 7E7 Dreamliner. Rolls has also won the lion's share of orders to power the new Airbus A380 super-jumbo.

Outside the City and industry, Mr Robertson is also chairman of the Royal Academy Trust, a director of the Royal Opera House and a trustee of the Eden Project in Cornwall and the St Paul's Cathedral Development Foundation.

Lord Moore will retire from the Rolls-Royce board at the end of the year following the handover to Mr Robertson. Sir John Weston, the former diplomat, is also standing down from the board. Sir John Taylor, the former director general of Research Councils and one-time director of Hewlett Packard's European research laboratories, joins the board as a non-executive director with immediate effect.

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