Harry Webster, 57-year-old technical director of Austin Morris, has resigned and is leaving British Leyland at the end of the month. Webster, an engineer of immense standing in the motor industry, was the surviving member of the triumvirate chosen by Lord Stokes in 1968 to run the volume car operations of the newly merged Leyland-BMC empire.
George Turnbull, managing director, and Filmer Paradise, sales director, were the others. Both resigned last year following disagreement over the reorganization of Austin Morris. Webster will be remembered for the very successful Triumph Herald and Triumph 2000 series which he developed as chief engineer of the Coventry company. It was largely, because of this success that he was moved from Triumph along with his boss, Turnbull, to restore morale at Longbridge.
His first job there was to rush through a re-design of the Maxi then about to be launched. He has since produced the Marina and the Allegro. Further new Webster models will make their appearance next year. He is at present believed to be holidaying in Spain and was not available to comment last night.
There have been persistent rumours in Midland motor industry circles over the past nine months that he was far from happy with the reduced status of Austin Morris and the departure of Turnbull.
Webster is joining Automotive Products, the Leamington based components group, as director of engineering. John Panks, AP’s chief executive, told us last night: “We are absolutely delighted to have secured a man of Harry’s high standing throughout the European motor industry. His arrival will greatly strengthen our engineering team and help our push into European motor markets.”
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