By Clifford Webb
Two more British Leyland executives have resigned after Tuesday’s announcement of the new management team for the unified car company proposed by the Ryder report. More resignations are expected.
The latest departures are Mr John Carpenter, aged 49, sales and marketing director of Rover Triumph and Mr Bert Walling, 58, BL director of corporate purchasing. Mr Geoffrey Robinson, managing director of Jaguar resigned a few days ago. Mr Carpenter’s resignation is further evidence of the resentment felt within the specialist car companies because the top sales jobs have all gone to Austin Morris men despite the fact that the specialist sales teams have a much more successful record.
In a formal statement from British Leyland yesterday, Mr Carpenter said: “I do not want to say anything which will make the task of the new team more difficult than it is. There were only a certain number of jobs to fill and specialist cars do not seem to have come off very well in the event. I believe that Rover Triumph had a contribution to make to the new set-up as our record shows. But the decision has been made otherwise and we must now hope that it works for the taxpayer’s sake. It is essential that management morale is restored and leadership given as soon as Possible.”
Mr Walling’s resignation deprives the new organization of one of the most experienced purchasing men in the motor industry but it does not come as a surprise. The Ryder report specifically omitted details of BL’s procurement arrangements for reasons of commercial security. However, within hours of the report being published component suppliers suggested the four company set-up proposed left no room for a corporate purchasing organization of the type built up and run by Mr Walling. Last night component sources said they would be surprised if the present corporate purchasing set-up was entirely disbanded.