BAE set to name Cressida Hogg as first female chair

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BAE Systems, Britain’s largest defence contractor, is poised to announce that Cressida Hogg is to become its first female chair.

Hogg, who is currently chair of property group Landsec, will take over from Sir Roger Carr, who is due to retire from BAE at its annual meeting in May next year, according to two people familiar with the situation.

The announcement is expected to be made on Thursday, alongside the FTSE 100 group’s half-year results.

Hogg’s appointment will mean that for the first time all three of Britain’s leading defence and aerospace companies — BAE, Babcock International and Rolls-Royce — are chaired by women. Babcock recruited former oil executive Ruth Cairnie in 2019, while Rolls-Royce last year appointed Anita Frew.

Hogg, who also sits on the board of the London Stock Exchange Group, is due to step down from Landsec next year. She is expected to join the board of BAE as chair designate in the coming months to ensure a smooth transition. Carr joined the BAE board in 2013 and took over as chair the following year.

Industry experts described Hogg as a seasoned player with experience of large and complex industrial projects.

Samuel Johar, who chairs Buchanan Harvey, a board advisory firm, said Hogg was an “experienced FTSE 100 chair” with a “keen intellect and substantial experience of large projects”. 

BAE declined to comment on Wednesday. The news was first reported by Sky News.

Hogg will join BAE at a time of heightened geopolitical tensions and rising government defence budgets in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The war has also changed investors’ views of the industry, underpinning its role in helping to facilitate international security.

BAE in February said that an “uncertain global environment” would boost business, pointing to higher spending on defence by European governments. Shares in the company have risen more than 40 per cent since the start of the year. They closed at 782.7p on Wednesday.

BAE employs roughly 85,000 people and counts the US, the UK and Saudi Arabia among its biggest customers. The company, one of Britain’s largest manufacturers, is involved in making everything from nuclear submarines to the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.

The company last month announced that top civil servant Lord Mark Sedwill would be joining as a non-executive director from November 1. Sedwill stepped down as cabinet secretary and national security adviser in September 2020.

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