Our story on October 17 that British Leyland would soon name a finance director from outside the company was duly confirmed yesterday. The job goes to Alex Park, a 47-year-old group director, planning, information and control at Rank Xerox.
To Park, a cost and works accountant who worked for two American companies, Monsanto and Cummins, before joining Rank Xerox in 1968, falls the task of taking much of the financial burden off John Barber’s shoulders at BL. Barber, of course, at this stage looks like heir apparent to Lord Stokes, and has undertaken over all responsibility for the group’s huge United Kingdom manufacturing operations.
As interesting as Park’s appointment is that of Sir Dennis Greenhill, recently retired Permanent Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Head of the Diplomatic Service, to BL’s board. Sir Dennis, in addition to normal board responsibilities at BL, will advise and assist on international and export affairs, an area in which Lord Stokes is concentrating his energies at present.
A criticism of BL in the pact has been the small non-executive director representation on the board. With Sir Dennis’s appointment there are now five non-executive directors on a board of 12. These include Jim Slater and Sir David Barran. Much of the criticism has come from the City, but we are assured that Sir Dennis’s appointment to the BL board and the fact that he recently became a director of S. G. Warburg, joint merchant bank advisers to BL, is entirely coincidental.
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