Rolls-Royce aerospace boss leaves after only four months

Mark King had been considered a “rising star” of company’s leadership team

Rolls-Royce has been rocked by the resignation of its aerospace boss today, in the midst of an investigation into bribery allegations in Indonesia and China.

The departure of Mark King, who was only made president of the engine maker’s aerospace division in January, comes as former McKinsey man Ian Davis became chairman of Rolls-Royce today at its annual general meeting.

A leading aerospace analyst said that King had been considered the “rising star” of Rolls-Royce’s leadership team and did not accept the company’s official, but non-specific, claim that he had left for “personal reasons”.

The Serious Fraud Office has an ongoing probe into allegations that Rolls-Royce representatives paid bribes so as to win lucrative aerospace engine contracts in Asia.

King, who joined the company in 1986, was president of the civil aerospace division until taking on the entirety of the aerospace business at the start of the year.

The analyst added that the move might also help to “consolidate the position” of Rolls-Royce chief executive John Rishton, who succeeded long-term boss Sir John Rose in 2011. He also pointed out that Rolls-Royce has lost several decades-worth of experience recently, as the finance director of nine years, Andrew Shilston, also left at the end  of 2011.

The news was released as part of Rolls-Royce’s statement on trading for the first three months of the year. The company said that it expected “modest growth” in its key revenue and profit numbers over the course of the whole year.

Rolls-Royce handed over the findings of its own inquiry into the scandal in Asia to the SFO earlier this year. There have been reports that the SFO is considering settling with Rolls-Royce through a civil recovery order, under which no criminal charges would be made.

As a non-executive director at BP, Davis helped the oil giant restore its finances and reputation in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Sandy Morris, analyst at Jefferies, warned that King’s departure is “not going to be passed unremarked” and added that “unexpected management change is probably not welcome”. However, Morris approved of his replacement,  Tony Wood, who he said “appears to be steeped in both experience of Rolls-Royce and the aerospace  industry”.

Despite the problems in civil aerospace, the division that builds engines for airlines was still the key driver behind the group’s 24 per cent profit increase to £1.2 billion in 2012.

Shares in Rolls-Royce — which was born out of the electrical and mechanical business that Henry Royce established in 1884 — have soared this year, but the news of King’s departure meant that the stock took a slight 0.44 per cent  hit  today.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before