Rolls-Royce names former BP executive as new boss

Tufan Erginbilgic will succeed outgoing chief executive Warren East on January 1 next year.

26 July 2022

Engine maker Rolls-Royce has named former BP executive Tufan Erginbilgic as its new chief executive to succeed outgoing boss Warren East.

The group said Mr Erginbilgic will take on the role on January 1 next year.

It comes after Mr East announced in February that he planned to leave at the end of 2022 after eight years at the helm.

Mr Erginbilgic spent more than 20 years at BP, including five years as part of its executive team and latterly as boss of the oil giant’s downstream business, before he left the group in 2020.

He is currently a partner at private equity firm Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), which focuses on large-scale investments in infrastructure businesses and manages 81 billion US dollars (£67 billion) for investors.

Mr Erginbilgic – who is a UK and Turkish national – will be paid a base salary of £1.25 million at Rolls, 30% of which will be paid as shares deferred for two years.

He will also receive two tranches of £3.75 million in shares as a “golden hello” to compensate for lost earnings and bonuses from GIP, which will vest in 2027 and 2028 and can be clawed back if needed.

Anita Frew, chair of Rolls-Royce, said Mr Erginbilgic is a “proven leader of winning teams within complex multinational organisations, with an ability to drive a high-performance culture and deliver results for investors”.

She added: “He has extensive strategic and operational experience and a firm understanding of safety critical industries, including aerospace, as well as the challenges and commercial opportunities presented by the drive for low carbon technologies.”

He joins as the group recovers after a difficult period, having faced huge hits from the Covid-19 pandemic as airlines were grounded and Rolls-Royce engines remained switched off.

The company is paid by customers based on the number of hours flown by its engines.

But the group last year returned to profit for the first time since the pandemic, recording a £124 million pre-tax profit for 2021 versus a £3.1 billion loss a year earlier.

It said in May that a gradual improvement in flight demand and higher defence spending by governments had also aided trading over the start of 2022.

At the time it said flying hours in its large engine long-term service agreement were up 42% on the prior year due to increased passenger numbers.

Mr Erginbilgic said: “I am honoured to be joining Rolls-Royce at a time of significant commercial opportunity and strategic evolution as its customers embrace the energy transition.

“I am determined to deliver the full potential of the market positions which the company has built over many years, through its engineering excellence and innovative technology, and to build a platform for growth in order to create value for all stakeholders.”

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