Marconi chief stays on despite protests

Marconi’s annual general meeting yesterday voted to keep the status quo and not look for the heads of those responsible for its downfall. Chairman Sir Roger Hurn confirmed that Lord Simpson would remain at the helm for one more year.

The announcements were made at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre in London, where institutional investors demanded the resignation of the entire Marconi board.

Outside the hall, trade unions organised demonstrations against the decision to earmark the company’s Poole plant for closure. Hurn defended the board’s decisions in the light of speculation surrounding the resignation of chief executive-designate John Mayo, who left Marconi after profit warnings rocked the company on 4 July.

“I and the other non-executive directors felt that Simpson had more experience to manage the company through this difficult period. This view was communicated by Simpson to Mayo and, in the light of this information, Mayo resigned,” said Hurn.

Marconi will now undergo a comprehensive two-month operational review which will look at ways to cut costs.

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