BAE Systems names new CEO

Defence giant BAE Systems today named chief operating officer Ian King as its next chief executive.

Defence giant BAE Systems today named chief operating officer Ian King as its next chief executive.

Mr King, 52, will replace Mike Turner in the top job from the beginning of September.

The announcement brings to an end the uncertainty over who would next head up the world's third largest defence company.

Mr Turner's retirement after more than 40 years service was announced last October.

Mr King joined defence firm Marconi in 1976 as a graduate, 23 years before its merger with British Aerospace formed BAE Systems.

One of the issues on his to-do list will be dealing with long-running corruption allegations surrounding the company. BAE has been at the centre of controversy relating to alleged payments to help win a Saudi Arabian deal in the 1980s.

The British High Court recently ruled that it was unlawful for the UK's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to end an investigation into the Saudi allegations, which related to contracts that formed part of the Al Yamamah programme between the UK and Saudi Governments. The SFO has been given permission to appeal over the ruling.

The company was also notified by the US Department of Justice in June last year that it had commenced a formal investigation relating to the group's compliance with anti-corruption laws, including business concerning Saudi Arabia.

It saw Mr Turner and BAE non-executive director Nigel Rudd briefly detained as they flew into the US last month. Both men were released after being questioned and having documents and personal electronic equipment - including laptops and Blackberries - examined.

Portsmouth Football Club fan Mr King, who lives in the city, will be in charge of nearly 100,000 employees around the world.

BAE chairman Dick Olver said: "Ian is a highly experienced business leader with a proven track record in our key home markets.

"His performance focus and depth of knowledge of the global defence industry will benefit the continued progression of the successful strategy that has been pursued by the company during the course of Mike Turner's leadership."

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