EU referendum: Rolls-Royce chief Warren East tells staff to vote Remain

 Warren East says that the firm could put investment decisions on hold in the wake of a Brexit

Wednesday 15 June 2016 08:54 BST
Warren East said its big rivals would not suffer from the “pause” in investment caused by the uncertainty around Brexit.
Warren East said its big rivals would not suffer from the “pause” in investment caused by the uncertainty around Brexit. (Getty)

The chief executive of Britain's Rolls-Royce has written to its UK staff to tell them the engineering company is better off in the EU, warning that Brexit could result in some decisions being put on hold.

“We have taken the public position that as a company Rolls-Royce believes our customers, suppliers and employees benefit from the UK's membership of the European Union and that it is in the company's interests to remain a member,” CEO Warren East said in the letter to the 23,000 staff employed in Britain.

If Britain votes to leave the EU on June 23, Rolls-Royce could put decisions like whether to invest in a new aero-engine testing facility at its Derby plant on hold, East told the BBC in an interview on Wednesday.

“We're making investment decisions all the time about where to place different parts of our operation,” he said.

“Uncertainty created by Brexit puts a lot of those decisions on hold and that pause is something that our US competitors don't have to cope with.”

Rolls-Royce, one of Britain's best known engineering companies which makes engines for aeroplanes, ships and industrial use, is in the middle of a turnaround plan after a series of profit downgrades over the last two years.

In the letter, East also said that whatever the outcome, Rolls-Royce would remain committed to the UK.


The EU referendum debate has so far been characterised by bias, distortion and exaggeration. So until 23 June we we’re running a series of question and answer features that explain the most important issues in a detailed, dispassionate way to help inform your decision.

What is Brexit and why are we having an EU referendum?

Will we gain or lose rights by leaving the European Union?

What will happen to immigration if there's Brexit?

Will Brexit make the UK more or less safe?

Will the UK benefit from being released from EU laws?

Will leaving the EU save taxpayers money and mean more money for the NHS?

What will Brexit do to UK trade?

How Brexit will affect British tourism

What will Brexit mean for British tourists booking holidays in the EU?

Will Brexit help or damage the environment?

Will Brexit mean that Europeans have to leave the UK?

What will Brexit mean for British expats?

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