Lord Stokes, chairman and managing director of British Leyland, replied last night to reported criticisms of his role by Mr Jack Plane, a former deputy chairman. Mr Plane, whose resignation: was announced early this week, was reported in South Africa as calling for a separate managing director to be appointed to relive the strain on Leyland’s chairman.
Lord Stokes said: “I am sorry that Jack Plane has felt it necessary to burst into print with comments on British Leyland. Until this moment we were not aware that this was the reason for his early retirement. Mr Plane contributed much towards the development of Leyland’s overseas operations and I am very grateful to him for what he did-particularly during the formative years of the corporation.”
Mr Plane, who was due to retire from the board next May, is quoted as saying that the strain on Lord Stokes was simply too great for one man, and “this is beginning to tell in some recent decisions”.
He is also said to be critical of the composition of the board, arguing that there should be more outside directors.