The Financial Week Ahead – P&O set to break up.

It’s all change aboard the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, otherwise known as P&O, as the boardroom of the 160-year-old shipping and transport group prepares for break-up next month.

Group managing director Sir Bruce MacPhail and 33-year-old chief financial officer Nick Luff, both chartered accountants, will this Tuesday release the combined group’s last set of interim results.

The conglomerate’s cruise business is set to demerge on October 23 with a London and New York listing as P&O Princess Cruises, subject to an extraordinary shareholder meeting three days earlier.

The remaining operation based on an extensive portfolio of ports, ferries and logistics operations will continue to trade as P&O, with an estimated value of between £1.3bn and £2bn. The future of the new Princess Cruises company on the FTSE-100 hangs in the balance as the rump P&O is expected to take an exit from the premier listing.

Luff, who qualified with KPMG and was appointed FD last year after eight years with the group, will take the helm as chief financial officer of the new P&O Princess Cruises.

Sir Bruce, who joined P&O in 1983 and trained back in the early 1960s with Price Waterhouse, will continue on the future P&O board, where he will be joined by new FD Joanne Curin, a 42-year-old New Zealand-qualified chartered accountant, who is currently FD of ports and cold logistics.

This month the group announced plans to develop the UK’s largest container port on the 1,500-acre former shell haven refinery near Thurrock on the River Thames.

Investment in the mothballed oil refinery will exceed #535m over 15 years with up to 10,000 jobs expected in the area, which has raised rumours of a further sell-off of property to raise funds. In July, the group failed to push through a $400m (£285m) cash and stock takeover of Greek-owned Festival Cruises.D

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