By Roy Farndon
Mr John Simon, joint managing director of Dunlop Holdings, is joining British Leyland International on December 1 as managing director. He will be taking on a role at present carried out by Mr John Barber, a deputy managing director of British Leyland and director of finance and planning. British Leyland said yesterday that Mr Simon, 52, who will also be an executive director of British Leyland. will be responsible to Mr Barber for the direction of British Leyland International.
The appointment of a leading industrialist with extensive international experience from outside comes a fortnight after criticisms of British Leylands management policy by Mr Jack Plane, a former deputy chairman. One of Mr Plane’s criticisms was that the management of British Leyland International should be a commercial not a financial appointment and Mr Simon’s appointment tends to support this argument. It is clear, however, that when the criticism was made British Leyland had already decided on a new appointment. A further point made by Mr Plane was that fresh blood should be brought on to the board from outside. This, too, is fulfilled by Mr Simon’s appointment.
Mr A. J. G. Sheppard will continue as managing director of British Leyland’s European and overseas operations. Mr Simon was appointed to the Dunlop board in 1967 in charge of overseas operations, which have always been a special concern of his. He became a joint managing director last year. He was previously general manager of Dunlop Canada and overseas general manager of the company. Mr Simon is at present chairman of the economics committee of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.