Archive : Chairman of Jaguar Plans to Retire in June


After 10 years as chairman of Jaguar P.L.C., the British luxury car manufacturer, Sir John Egan said yesterday that he will retire at the end of June. The Ford Motor Company, which paid nearly $2.38 billion for Jaguar in December, has appointed William J. Hayden, now vice president of Ford’s European manufacturing group, to succeed Sir John. Mr. Hayden becomes chief executive of the Jaguar board, while Sir John be non-executive chairman for the next three months.

Sir John has been widely credited for restoring the car maker to fiscal health. According to the Press Association, a British news agency, Sir Michael Edwardes, chairman of British Leyland, the Government-owned company that owned Jaguar in 1980, told Sir John when he was appointed chairman then to ”either turn it round or close it down; it’s bleeding us to death.” Jaguar had been losing almost $1.6 million a week and sales in the United States, its primary market, were down to slightly more than 3,000 a year.

Sir John cut Jaguar’s work force by nearly a third to increase efficiency, modernized the engineering and manufacturing operations and established a worldwide sales network.

In 1984, a robust Jaguar was turned over to the private sector by the British Government. But another downturn in the American market in the late 1980’s forced Sir John to seek links with other manufacturers.

He was said to favor a deal with the General Motors Corporation that would have enabled Jaguar to remain independent, but late last October, the British Government lifted a restriction that would have barred anyone from owning more than 15 percent of Jaguar until the end of 1990, and a bid from Ford bested G.M. in November.

”My advice to Ford was that the big growth opportunities available to Jaguar under their ownership could only be fully exploited if the company were led by a senior Ford executive,” Sir John said. ”I am, therefore, delighted to hand over Jaguar to Bill Hayden.”

Sir John, 50 years old, did not indicate what he would do next. He holds a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from Imperial College of London University and a master’s in business from the London Business School. During his career, he has been the general manager of G.M.’s AC Delco replacement-parts operation in Britain and an executive with Massey-Ferguson. Sir John was knighted in 1986.

Mr. Hayden, 61, was born in West Ham, East London, and educated at Romford Technical College. His Ford career began in 1950 in the cost-accounting department of Briggs Motor Bodies Ltd. in Dagenham. He moved to senior manufacturing management in 1966 and by 1972 had joined the board of the Ford Motor Company Ltd. In 1976, he received the honor of Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to export.

Keith Adams

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