By Roy Farndon
Sir George Farmer and Mr Jack Plane are the two new deputy chairmen of British Leyland Motor Corporation. These appointments follow the retirement earlier this year of Sir William Lyons and Mr Lewis Whyte. Sir George, who is 64 tomorrow, has been chairman of Rover since 1963 and a director of British Leyland since April, 1969.
It was said yesterday that Mr Plane will be a deputy chairman until his retirement in May next year. He has given up his post as one of British Leyland’s three deputy managing directors, together with his managing directorship of British Leyland International. This leaves British Leyland at present with two deputy managing directors: Mr George Turnbull, 45, who heads the Austin-Morris division, and Mr John Barber, 53, responsible for finance and planning.
There is clearly the possibility of further changes at the top of British Leyland over the coming months. Together with any appointments consequent on yesterday’s changes there is in the background speculation about Lord Stokes’s dual responsibilities. Lord Stokes, who is 58, is both chairman and managing director of British Leyland. He has hinted in the past that it was possible he might one day delegate certain of his responsibilities to someone else.
British Leyland also said yesterday that Sir David Barran, 59, who is retiring next month as chairman of “Shell Transport and Trading, is to join the British Leyland board in a non-executive capacity from July 1. Sir George Farmer, who took Rover into the merger with Leyland in April 1967, is to remain chairman of Rover.