Babcock Group confirms Ruth Cairnie as new chair

Babcock International Group has confirmed that Ruth Cairnie will assume the role of the group’s chair starting 18 July – replacing Mike Turner in the role.

Cairnie has joined the company as a non-executive director and will assume the role of chair after the company’s annual general meeting on 18 July. She will be the company’s first female chair.

Ruth Cairnie said: “I am delighted to be joining the Babcock team and I look forward to working with the Board and the executive team to deliver shareholder value, and to help maximise future opportunities.

“I am hugely enthusiastic about the opportunity to oversee the next stage of Babcock’s development as a major company delivering complex engineering to support its clients, both in the UK and internationally.”

Commenting on the appointment of Ruth Cairnie, Mike Turner said: “Following a thorough process to identify and select a new Chair, led by our senior independent director, Sir David Omand, we are delighted to welcome Ruth to the Board.

“She is a strategic thinker and strong leader, and we look forward to her bringing her in-depth experience, gained from a broad range of executive and non-executive roles at leading industrial companies, both in the UK and internationally, to benefit Babcock.”

Babcock is a UK-based engineering contractor whose key customers include the UK Ministry of Defence. The group’s stock has been hit hard over the recent years. Currently, Babcock is trading at 512.40p, almost half of its price in April 2015.

The group has a significant presence in the UK helicopter market. It also has a helicopter-services subsidiary called Babcock Mission Critical Services – formerly known as Avincis. Babcock Group acquired Avincis and its fleet of 343 aircraft in 2014 for £1.6 billion (14 times earnings) and took on the company’s net debt of £705 million. The group took an £80 million impairment charge on the acquisition – citing overcapacity and underutilisation as the reason for the charge.

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