BAE shareholders urge top executives to leave: FT

LONDON Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:08pm EDT

BAE Systems employees walk together at Roysth naval yard in Rosyth, Scotland October 2, 2012. REUTERS/David Moir

BAE Systems employees walk together at Roysth naval yard in Rosyth, Scotland October 2, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/David Moir

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LONDON (Reuters) - A group of BAE Systems (BAES.L) shareholders has demanded the resignation of leading figures at the company, following the collapse of its proposed $45 billion merger with EADS EAD.PA, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

In a letter to the board, shareholders called for both chairman Dick Olver and Sir Peter Mason, BAE's senior independent director, to stand down due to the "significant damage" caused by the botched aerospace merger, according to the FT.

Invesco, BAE's largest shareholder with more than 13 percent, was publicly opposed to the merger and has been joined in the letter by two other big shareholders in criticizing the company's strategy.

The three investors, which account for about 18 percent of the group overall, believe BAE has been too reliant for growth on mergers and acquisitions over the past eight years and that this has destroyed value, the FT said.

They argue that refreshed board leadership is needed both to improve governance and to set BAE on a different course, as both men have lost credibility, the FT said, citing the letter.

In the letter, the shareholders call for an immediate search to find a new chairman to institute an urgent review of the group to refocus on its core businesses, according to the FT.

(Reporting by Stephen Mangan; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

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