Sir Alastair to call it a day at Eurotunnel when banks deal is done

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The Independent Online
Sir Alastair Morton (above left), the man who turned the Channel Tunnel into a reality thus uniting Britain with the Continent for the first time since the Ice Age, is to hand over as Eurotunnel chairman to Robert Malpas (right) when negotiations to reschedule its pounds 8bn debt mountain have been successfully concluded, writes Michael Harrison.

At a hastily convened and brisk press conference yesterday Sir Alastair said that when a deal with Eurotunnel's 225 banks was finally reached, his job would be done and it would be time to move on.

Sir Alastair became chairman in February 1987 and is widely credited with salvaging the project from imminent collapse by forcing through the pounds 700m share offer that secured financing for the tunnel. He would not comment on the detail of the debt renegotiations with the banks or give a forecast of when a deal would be done but said he would be disappointed if he was still at Eurotunnel this Christmas.

Mr Malpas, a former managing director of BP and now chairman of Cookson, has been a non-executive with Eurotunnel for nine years and will become non-executive chairman when Sir Alastair departs.

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