Rolls-Royce, hit by COVID, chooses former Deloitte partner Kakoullis as chief financial officer | Economic news


Rolls-Royce Holdings, the FTSE-100 engineering group, will this week appoint a former Deloitte partner as the next chief financial officer as it tries to weather the headwinds of the COVID-19 crisis.

Sky News has learned that Panos Kakoullis, who spent 30 years at the accounting giant, has been chosen as the Derby-based industrial titan’s next CFO.

The appointment of Mr. Kakoullis is expected to be announced on the London Stock Exchange on Monday morning.

It will come nearly six months after Rolls-Royce said Stephen Daintith was leaving ailing aircraft engine maker to join online grocer Ocado.

Mr. Kakoullis, who led Deloitte’s global audit and assurance operations, was widely regarded as one of the firm’s key partners.

Although he had no direct experience as a CFO at an FTSE-100 company, one of his former colleagues said he was “ideally suited” for the position, having advised top names such as than Tesco and Vodafone.

Last year, he briefly joined PA Consulting as an elected CEO, but decided to leave after the company’s private backers decided to sell to a competitor rather than pursue a public listing.

Mr Kakoullis will join Rolls-Royce as he tries to weather the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year the company raised £ 5bn in debt and equity and announced plans to cut 9,000 jobs, many of them in the UK.

In recent weeks, it has confirmed its intention to temporarily shut down its jet engine factories this summer, affecting the 19,000 employees of its civilian aerospace division.

The appointment of a new CFO won’t be the only change to Rolls-Royce’s board of directors this year.

Sky News recently revealed that the company has hired headhunters to help identify its next chairman as Sir Ian Davis prepares to retire in 2022.

The research, which is being conducted by MWM Consulting, remains at an early stage, with an announcement unlikely until the second half of this year.

Sir Kevin Smith, the former head of GKN who is Rolls-Royce’s senior independent director, oversees the recruitment process.

The research could pave the way for the appointment of Rolls-Royce’s first foreign figurehead since the company was privatized by the government more than 30 years ago.

After a 16-year period in state ownership, Rolls-Royce returned to the private sector in 1987 with a stipulation that its chairman and CEO must be of British nationality.

This rule has since been relaxed to apply to one of the two main jobs, which means that a foreign national could become president of Rolls-Royce for the first time.

Warren East, a Briton, has been the CEO of the company since 2015.

Rolls-Royce shares have fallen by nearly two-thirds in the past 12 months, with the stock fluctuating amidst changing sentiment about the prospects for an upturn in international air travel.

The entire aviation industry supply chain has been plunged into crisis by the pandemic.

Rolls-Royce is a rarity in UK companies due to the state’s gold share, which gives Whitehall a veto over certain strategic decisions.

He had planned to sell hundreds of millions of pounds of new shares to sovereign wealth funds in Kuwait and Singapore as part of his fundraiser, but was forced to drop the proposals amid objections from City investors. .

The company has plans to generate around £ 2 billion from the divestitures, including the sale of its nuclear instrumentation business and the recently announced sale of Bergen, which manufactures marine engines.

A Rolls-Royce spokesperson declined to comment on Mr Kakoullis’ appointment on Sunday.

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