Aviation Group Lines Up Rudd As New Chair
The FTSE-250 industrial group BBA Aviation is lining up Sir Nigel Rudd, one of the most prominent businessmen in Britain, as its next chairman.
Sky News has learnt that Sir Nigel heads a shortlist of candidates drawn up to succeed Michael Harper, who is expected to step down next year after nine years on BBA's board.
BBA, which specialises in so-called after-market services for the corporate jet sector, has not yet announced Mr Harper's departure but is expected to do so before the end of the year, insiders said on Tuesday.
Sir Nigel has not yet formally agreed to take the role but is expected to do so, according to one friend.
He recently agreed to serve another three years as chairman of Heathrow Airport Holdings as it battles to be selected as the site of additional runway capacity in the south-east of England.
One factor weighing in favour of him taking on another boardroom role is the fact that Invensys, the industrial group he chairs, is poised to be taken over by Schneider Electric of France.
Sir Nigel will step down from the Invensys post after the deal is completed.
As the former chairman of Boots and Pilkington, Sir Nigel is a member of the club of senior boardroom figures who have overseen the sale of chunks of Britain's industrial heritage to overseas predators.
During his time at Heathrow's parent, he has recruited a number of sovereign wealth and pension funds from Canada, China and Qatar to invest alongside Ferrovial, the Spanish infrastructure group which bought BAA in 2006.
If he does take the BBA chairmanship, it will spark fresh speculation of corporate activity involving the company, which recently ended talks about a combination with the US operations of Dubai Aerospace Enterprise.
Sir Nigel will discover a familiar face in the BBA boardroom. Wayne Edmunds, the chief executive of Invensys, recently joined its board as a non-executive director.
Some City analysts expressed surprise that BBA would be able to entice Sir Nigel given that its market value is small compared to those of many of the companies he has chaired.
BBA declined to comment.