Aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce chooses new CEO

LONDON — British aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce says it has picked former BP executive Tufan Erginbilgic to replace longtime chief executive Warren East.

Erginbilgic, a dual British and Turkish national, replaces East from early 2023, Rolls said in a statement.

East is stepping down after eight tumultuous years in the lead role during which he turned the performance around and cut thousands of jobs.

Rolls-Royce chairman Anita Frew described Erginbilgic, 62, as “a proven leader of winning teams in complex multinational organisations”.

She said he had “an ability to drive a culture of high performance and deliver results for investors.”

Erginbilgic worked for more than 20 years at BP, including as head of its downstream unit.

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 he was “quite happy” with his time at Rolls-Royce.

“We have put in place a lot of efficiency and productivity improvements,” he said on the sidelines of the Farnborough Airshow, adding that the engine manufacturer was focused on decarbonising aviation.

The 60-year-old’s tenure has been marred by bribery fines prior to his arrival, as well as problems with the company’s Trent engine family.

Rolls, whose products power Airbus and Boeing planes, cut 9,000 jobs and offloaded assets as part of a drastic cost cut after the Covid pandemic grounded planes and caused a slump in air traffic.

East brought the group back to profit in 2021 after the painful restructuring and Rolls continued to reap the benefits of the aviation recovery and growing government defense spending.

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