Aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce picks new CEO

Warren East is stepping down after a tumultuous eight years in the top role



By AFP

Published: Wed 27 Jul 2022, 7:06 AM

Last updated: Wed 27 Jul 2022, 3:17 PM

On Tuesday, British aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce said it had chosen former British Petroleum (BP) executive Tufan Erginbilgic to replace the long-serving CEO Warren East.

Erginbilgic, a dual UK and Turkish national, replaces East from the start of 2023, said Rolls-Royce in a statement. East is stepping down after a tumultuous eight years in the top role, during which time he turned around performance and slashed thousands of jobs.

Rolls-Royce chair Anita Frew described Erginbilgic, 62, as "a proven leader of winning teams within complex multinational organisations". She also talked of his ability to "drive a high-performance culture and deliver results for investors".

Erginbilgic worked for more than 20 years at BP. He left the British energy major in 2020, and is currently a partner at private equity firm Global Infrastructure Partners.

East told AFP last week that he was "quite pleased" with his time at Rolls-Royce:

"We've put in place a lot of efficiency and productivity improvements," he said on the sidelines of the Farnborough Airshow, adding that the engine maker's focus was on decarbonisation of aviation.

The 60-year-old's tenure was marked by corruption fines that pre-dated his arrival, as well as troubles with the company's Trent family of engines.

Rolls-Royce, whose products power Airbus and Boeing aircraft, axed 9,000 jobs and offloaded assets in drastic cost-cutting phases, after the Covid-19 pandemic grounded jets and sparked a collapse in air traffic.

East guided the group back to profit in 2021, after a long and painful restructuring process. Rolls-Royce has since gone on to reap the benefits of aviation's recovery and growth in government defence spending.

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