Archive : All change for Leyland’s front-seat driver

By Roy Assersohn
City Editor

A major top management re-shuffle at British Leyland, now known simply as BL, is being planned by Sir Michael Edwardes. The game of executive chequers will, I understand, result in the further elevation of Ray Horrocks, who only recently became, chairman and managing director of the Austin Morris division.

The dynamic Mr Horrocks was previously a top executive with Ford and the American conglomerate Eaton Corporation. He is likely to emerge as heir apparent to 49 yearold Sir Michael, the BL supremo appointed by the Labour Government. Mr Horrocks, who is 48, is likely to become managing director of the BL cars division incorporating Austin Morris as well as Jaguar, Rover and Triumph. His successor as managing director of Austin Morris in the management shake-up is likely to be Harold Musgrove, currently director of manufacturing.

Also, it is possible that American William Pratt Thompson, currently chairman of Jaguar Rover Triumph, will be shifted sideways to become chairman of BL International, which looks after overseas manufacturing. Another top management change which, I understand could be announced today, involves Percy Plant, currently executive director of BL Cars. He is likely to succeed Mr Pratt Thompson as head of JRT, which has been running into problems.

Dynamic change has become a management motto since Sir Michael Edwardes was brought in by the Labour Government, to bring British Leyland, as it then was and is still generally known, back to life. The latest moves at the top which have been mooted, have not been motivated by the need to establish a line of succession to Sir Michael’s post.

Keith Adams

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