By CLIFFORD WEBB
British Leyland yesterday announced a major re-organisation to speed up integration of the motor empire created over two years ago by the merging of Leyland and British Motor Holdings. Seven operating divisions are immediately cut to five. The most significant move is the amalgamation of Austin-Morris, the corporation’s volume car division, with the Pressed Steel Fisher body building division to form Britain’s largest car manufacturing organization.
Other moves include the creation of a new division, special products, from the former construction equipment and foundry and general engineering divisions and also the formation of British Levland International to control all overseas operations. George Turnbull, 44, managing director of Austin Morris since the merger. becomes managing director of Austin Morris- Pressed Steel Fisher, which will now be known as Austin Morris and Manufacturing group.
He will be responsible for plants employing 85,000 work people- nearly half the corporation’s total labour force in this country. His deputy is Harry Barber, 60, the present managing director of P.S.F., Mr. Barber is one of Britain’s leading body technicians with immense experience of production processes. The profitable specialist car division, Jaguar, Rover and Standard – Triumph renamed simply Triumph , remains outwardly unchanged. But there is a significant backroom development.
Walter Boardman, finance director of Austin- Morris. becomes the first divisional appointment in the role of finance director. No managing director has ever been appointed, and the three companies have retained a great deal of independence.
Bill Davis, 51, Mr Turnbull’s present deputy at Austin-Morris. becomes chairman and chief executive of Triumph. His predecessor there, Cliff Swindle, joins the headquarters team in Berkeley Square. London, as director of facility planning, a new post created to advise on plans for the rationalization and expansion of corporation plants. No changes are made in the truck and bus division-headed by Ron Ellis. Considerable rationalization already carried out in this division is beginning to bear fruit. The new special products division is the responsibility of Fred Clem, 56, former managing director of the construction equipment division. He joined Leyland after 34 years with Chrysler.
Commenting on the changes last night, Lord Stokes, chairman, said: “This is the fourth phase of the plans for the corporation which were laid down when it was formed just over two years ago. The aim of the present developments is to obtain increased efficiency from larger scale operations, pooling of resources, avoidance of duplication and efficiency from central planning.”