Business: The Company File
Rover needs a lot of repair work
Two senior executives at Rover, the embattled car maker, have resigned as the group’s German parent BMW restructures the group. The resignations mean that only the chairman is left on the Rover board. Paul Kirk, Rover’s Manufacturing Director, and Nick Stephenson, Director of Design and Engineering, are leaving.
The departures come just a few months after two other directors left the company.
Taking the wheel
BMW said recently that German executives will play an increasingly influential role in running Rover, following it’s £650m losses last year. It now looks likely that BMW will appoint it’s own people to the Rover board, to try to encourage greater efficiency and productivity.
Mr Stephenson was the man behind the Rover 75 which is built in Rover’s Oxford plant at Cowley, and won the prestigious “What Car” car of the year award. Rover’s Longbridge plant in Birmingham was saved by a £200m grant for the UK Government.
In return for the government aid, BMW will invest up to £1.7bn to modernise the plant and produce a new range of cars there. In a deal between BMW and unions the Rover workforce is being cut by 2,500 workers and new flexible work practices introduced. However, there are fears that more employees will have to go before Rover returns to profitability.
Rover’s woes have caused a dramatic management reshuffle at BMW.