Archive : Leyland Trucks boss resigns from BL

By David Simpson, Business Correspondent

The chief executive of Leyland Vehicles, Mr David Andrews, became the first casualty of the fallout from the abortive sale of BL’s commercial vehicle operations to General Motors of the US when he resigned as a director of the state owned corporation yesterday.

Mr Andrews, whose current salary is about £100,000 a year could recieve the largest golden handshake ever paid by a nationalised industry, although BL refused to comment yesterday on what financial payment had been agreed. The Leyland Vehicles executive director played a significant role in scuppering the GM takeover, orchestrating a management buyout offer for Land Rover which was seized upon by Tory backbenchers as a viable alternative to the GM deal.

Mr Andrews took leave of absence from BL in mid-February to head the management consortium, and although BL subsequently decided to retain all its commercial vehicle interests, he has never resumed his duties. His position was further complicated by the appointment of a new full time executive chairman of BL, Mr Graham Day, who moved from British Shipbuilders on May 1.
“I met with Graham Day soon after he joined and we agreed that the best thing would be for me to resign, given all the circumstances which prevailled,” Mr Andrews said yesterday.

The main reason behind Mr Andrews departure appears to be the hostility he aroused among his BL boardroom collegues for his opposition to the GM arrangement, although the Graham Day appointment has also led to structural changes at BL.

Mr Andrews is also expected to be followed by the other BL executive director, Mr Ray Horrocks, who ran the Austin Rover car division prior to Mr Day’s appointment. Three weeks ago, Mr Day assumed executive responsibility for Austin Rover, leaving Mr Horrocks in temporary charge of Mr Andrews former patch of Leyland Vehicles.

Mr Horrocks has himself publicly claimed that Mr Day was appointed over his head to the BL chairmanship by the government, to penalise him for his criticism of the proposed sale of Austin Rover to Ford.

Mr Andrews was both the longest serving and highest paid BL director, joining the board in 1975. Last year, Mr Andrews earned a salary believed to be £98,367. He refused to say yesterday what compensation he is to recieve or how long his contract had to run. Mr Andrews payment, however, will not compete with the total compensation of £3 million paid for the services of Mr Ian MacGregor as National Coal Board and British Steel chairman to his employer, the New York bank, Lazard Freres.

Keith Adams

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