Causeway Capital calls for ‘refresh’ of Rolls-Royce’s board

posted on 31st August 2021 by Eddie Saunders
Causeway Capital calls for 'refresh' of Rolls-Royce's board

By Edward Thicknesse |

Rolls-Royce’s second largest stakeholder has called on the aerospace giant to “refresh” its board as the firm emerges from the worst downturn in aviation history.

In an interview with the FT, Jonathan Eng, portfolio manager at Causeway Capital Management, called for incoming chair Anita Frew to review whether the board had the right mix of individuals.

“I really believe the board needs some fresh thinking. The company is facing some challenges,” he said.

Causeway Capital, which first bought into the firm in 2018, now owns 7.0 per cent of Rolls-Royce, according to Refinitiv data.

The call comes after a dire 18 months for the engine maker, which saw profit and revenue collapse as the coronavirus pandemic grounded airlines around the world.

One of Rolls-Royce’s major income streams derives from the number of hours for which carriers use its engines.

It did, however, make a £307m operating profit for the first half of the year, up from £1.6bn in losses for the same period in 2020.

In a bid to shore up its finances after the pandemic, it has kicked off a $2bn disposal programme.

As part of this scheme, earlier this month the FTSE 1 blue chip confirmed it had entered exclusive talks to sell its Spanish unit ITP Aero to a consortium led investment house Bain Capital for a rumoured €1.6bn (£1.5bn).

When Frew joins the firm in October, she will become the first woman to chair it in its 115-year history.