BAE Systems poaches Crossrail chief to head maritime arm

(c) Sky News 2018: <a href="http://news.sky.com/story/bae-systems-poaches-crossrail-chief-to-head-maritime-arm-11288305">BAE Systems poaches Crossrail chief to head maritime arm</a>
 

The chief executive of Crossrail is to join BAE Systems (LSE: BA.L - news) later this year, returning the former British Army officer to the defence sector after an absence of more than three decades.

Sky News has learnt that Andrew Wolstenholme will oversee the maritime and land divisions at the UK's biggest defence contractor, where he will have responsibility for the company's flagship submarine and naval ships programmes.

Crossrail announced last week that Mr Wolstenholme was leaving to take up an undisclosed role in the private sector.

Insiders said his new role, reporting to BAE's chief executive, Charles Woodburn, would be announced this week.

The news of Mr Wolstenholme's recruitment will come days after BAE received a welcome boost from the signing of a memorandum of intent between the Government and Saudi Arabia for the latter to buy 48 Typhoon aircraft.

That deal is expected to preserve thousands of British defence jobs, just months after BAE announced that it was close to cutting nearly 2,000 UK-based posts across its business.

Its maritime unit includes the Astute class submarines and the Type 26 combat ship, as well as providing services to much of the remainder of the Royal Navy's fleet.

Mr Wolstenholme has run Crossrail, one of Europe's biggest engineering projects, for seven years.

His CV includes stints in Hong Kong and the US, as construction director on the Heathrow Express rail link, and most recently at Balfour Beatty (Other OTC: BAFBF - news) .

He served in the Army for five years, initially in the Royal Engineers and then as an Irish Hussar.

Mr Wolstenholme's arrival at BAE will come soon after the company warned that profits this year are expected to be flat, with its new chief executive focused on improving the company's cost discipline and competitiveness.

Shares (Berlin: DI6.BE - news) in BAE, which has a market value of about £19bn, have slipped by about 7.5% over the last year, having enjoyed an initial post-Brexit referendum boost.

BAE declined to comment on Tuesday.