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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

GKN's chief-to-be leaves before taking up post

Kevin Cummings is leaving the British engineering company after the aerospace division he used to run suffered a shock writedown

A JAS-39 Gripen fighter jet. The aerospace unit of GKN supplies parts for the Gripen engine. EPA/Boglarka Bodnar
A JAS-39 Gripen fighter jet. The aerospace unit of GKN supplies parts for the Gripen engine. EPA/Boglarka Bodnar

The GKN chief executive-designate Kevin Cummings is leaving, the British engineering company announced on Thursday, after the aerospace division he used to run took a surprise writedown, sending the shares down 9 per cent.

Mr Cummings, the head of GKN Aerospace since 2014, was named in September as group chief executive to replace retiring Nigel Stein from January. Among other things, GKN Aerospace is the Type Certificate holder for the RM12 engine powering the Saab Gripen fighter. It also supplies parts to aircraft manufacturers including Airbus and Boeing.

In October, the GKN group issued a profit warning sparked by problems in the aerospace division.

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It said then that its Aerospace North America division would incur a £15 million (Dh72.4m) non-cash charge relating to revised assumptions on programme inventory and receivables balances at a plant in Alabama.

On Thursday it said a further write-off of £80m to £130m was likely following a review of working capital at its aerospace plants in North America.

"With the exception of the working capital write-off ... all other guidance for the full year remains unchanged," it said.

Anne Stevens, currently a non-executive director, will assume the role of interim chief executive with effect from Jan. 1 2018, replacing Mr Stein who steps down at the end of the year.

The company has launched an internal and external search for a new chief executive.