Smiths and S&N bosses to step down

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The chief executives of the FTSE 100 companies Smiths Group and Scottish & Newcastle are preparing to stand down.

Keith Butler-Wheelhouse is expected to step down this week as chief executive of Smiths, the aerospace and medical systems company. Tony Froggatt, the boss of S&N, has told his chairman, Sir Brian Stewart, he wants to leave his job as head of Britain's biggest brewer early next year.

Smiths is due to announce Mr Butler-Wheelhouse's departure when it delivers its interim results this week. Some investors have been agitating for a strategic review of Smiths' business but it is understood this is not part of the company's plans at the moment.

Smiths has four main businesses: aerospace, detection, medical, and speciality engineering. Some investors had been pushing for change and a possible break-up before Smiths called off a planned joint venture with General Electric last week. The companies had planned to combine their detection businesses.

Mr Butler-Wheelhouse has led the company for almost nine years. Its finance director, John Langston, was said to be among the candidates to replace him.

A spokesman for Smiths declined to comment on when Mr Butler-Wheelhouse would leave. But he added: "The board announced in January that Keith would be retiring by July 2008. There is a process now in train, the result of which has not yet been announced."

Mr Froggatt has been chief executive of Scottish & Newcastle since 2003. He has expanded the company overseas, particularly in Russia and the Baltic states, where S&N has a joint venture with Carlsberg.

Mr Froggatt also spearheaded S&N's purchase of a stake in United Breweries, the Indian company which makes Kingfisher lager, and took S&N into China.

Candidates in the running to replace Mr Froggatt are said to include the company's finance director Ian McHoul, the head of its eastern Europe division John Nicolson, and John Dunsmore, who runs the business in western Europe.

The company declined to comment yesterday.