Lord White's move will further inflame the feuding in BA's boardroom since the airline was forced to apologise to Richard Branson, the Virgin chief, for 'dirty tricks'. Sir Colin Marshall stepped up from chief executive to replace Lord King on Friday.
Lord King, say BA insiders, decided to bring forward his retirement when it became apparent that a group of non-executive directors, led by Sir Michael Angus, president of the CBI, were prevaricating over the succession.
Yesterday, Lord Hanson, a close friend of Lord King and business partner of Lord White - the three are known in the City as 'the three lords a leaping' for their similar views - went on the offensive with a stinging attack on three non-executive directors: Sir Michael, Sir Francis Kennedy and Michael Davies. In an article in the Daily Telegraph, Lord Hanson was quoted as saying that the non-executives had 'totally let down' Lord King.
An adviser to Lord Hanson said it was inconceivable that he had not been speaking on behalf of Lord White, whose position on the BA board had been made untenable deliberately. Lord White, who has bronchitis, is at his home in California.
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