Public row hinders search for Lonrho chairman

THE SEARCH for a new Lonrho chairman to replace Rene Leclezio next month has received a setback from the escalating public row between Roland 'Tiny' Rowland and Dieter Bock, the co-chief executives, according to sources within the company.

They claimed Mr Rowland's decision to criticise Mr Bock publicly would prolong the difficult search for a chairman, because potential candidates would not accept the job amid open warfare.

Alleging that Mr Bock and his advisers were behind reports last week that he cost the company pounds 5.5m a year, Mr Rowland said at the weekend that he had vetoed Mr Bock's choice of Eugene Anderson, the former Ferranti chairman. Mr Anderson did not have enough African experience, Mr Rowland said.

He added that he favoured Sir John Leahy, a non-executive director, whom he described as likely to make a 'very good chairman'. He praised him for his African experience, including an ambassadorship to Pretoria. The largest part of Lonrho's business is in Africa.

But the Bock camp claims Sir John will not take the job as long as Mr Rowland remains co-chief executive. Mr Rowland disputes this.

Sir John chairs the committee of directors charged with finding a chairman. With Mr Leclezio's contract about to run out, one proposal is that Sir John takes the senior role temporarily as a vice chairman, while the search for a non-executive replacement continues.

The two co-chief executives spent yesterday assessing the damage from the row that broke out last week over reports of a boardroom coup that failed to materialise.

Mr Rowland blamed these reports and allegations about his expenses on Mr Bock and his advisers.

The risk to the Bock camp is that the row will end up damaging the company without removing Mr Rowland. There were indications that last week's arguments have weakened Mr Bock's support among the more neutral members of the board.

However, Stephen Walls, the former Plessey chief executive brought in by Mr Bock as a non- executive director, remains a close ally of Mr Bock. He is regarded by the Rowland camp as just as determined as Mr Bock to force Mr Rowland out.

But Mr Rowland declared at the weekend he would use his wealth of pounds 220m to fight his opponents.

In the City there was disappointment that a solution to Lonrho's problems had receded still further. The shares slipped 3p to 139p. One Lonrho insider claimed: 'People are worried that Tiny isn't actually going.'

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?