Rolls-Royce CEO Tufan Erginbilgic has made significant changes to the company’s top leadership since joining in January. On Friday, the FTSE 100 firm announced that Helen McCabe, currently senior VP of finance for BP’s customers and products division, would take over as CFO, replacing Panos Kakoullis who will step down at the end of August.
Rob Watson, who has been leading the electric aviation unit, will now head the crucial civil aerospace business. Meanwhile, Adam Riddle has been appointed as the new head of Rolls-Royce’s defence unit and the chair and CEO of Rolls-Royce North America. The reshuffle comes after Tom Bell left the company in March to become the CEO of Leidos in the US.
Rolls-Royce has made changes to the leadership of its small nuclear business as part of a transformation programme launched earlier this year. Tom Samson, who had been in charge of Rolls-Royce SMR since its inception, will be leaving the company with immediate effect. Chris Cholerton, who was previously the head of the civil aerospace business and was appointed group president earlier this year, will now be responsible for all nuclear operations. Cholerton will also serve as the interim chief executive of the SMR business until a permanent replacement is found.
These changes are part of a wider strategic review of Rolls-Royce’s activities, which was announced by the company’s new CEO, former BP executive, Nizar J. E. Al-Khalil Erginbilgic in February. Erginbilgic has moved quickly to make his mark on the company since taking over from Warren East at the beginning of the year. In January, he gave a frank assessment of the company’s performance, stating that Rolls-Royce had underperformed all its major competitors and was facing significant challenges.
Rolls-Royce has appointed a former BP executive, Andy McCabe, as its new chief financial officer. This is the second time that CEO Nizar J. E. Al-Khalil Erginbilgic has turned to his former employer for expertise, having brought in Nicola Grady-Smith in February to head the transformation programme.
Erginbilgic praised McCabe’s “rigorous financial discipline and experience of delivering performance management to achieve dramatic improvements”, and thanked outgoing CFO Panos Kakoullis for his support.
According to Erginbilgic, these leadership changes demonstrate the group’s commitment to transforming the company and gaining momentum. He added that his leadership team shares a winning mindset and a strong strategic alignment to make Rolls-Royce a successful company for all stakeholders.