Kevin Cummings will take top job at manufacturer when Nigel Stein retires
GKN has appointed the head of its aerospace division as successor to chief executive Nigel Stein, a move which signals the challenges ahead for the automotive and aerospace components manufacturer.
Mr Stein will retire in December after more than five years at the helm and 16 years at the company. Kevin Cummings, who joined GKN in 2008, will replace Mr Stein having led the aerospace business since 2014.
Mr Stein has presided over a 60 per cent increase in GKN shares as he pushed the expansion of the aircraft component business, which makes wing parts for many Airbus and Boeing jets. In 2015 the group bought Netherlands-based Fokker for €706m in 2015.
The Fokker deal propelled GKN into the number two position globally for lightweight aerostructures and into third place in electrical wiring systems.
However, suppliers are coming under greater pressure from big customers to cut prices. The need to build scale to offset the squeeze on pricing is one of the main reasons cited by the chief executive of United Technologies as a driver for his company’s proposed $30bn takeover of avionics group Rockwell Collins. At its interim results in July, GKN indicated it expected organic growth in the aerospace division to slow.
GKN also announced the departure of Adam Walker, finance director, who had been a candidate for the top job. The group said he was leaving to take up another opportunity outside the engineering sector. Mr Walker will be replaced by another internal candidate, Jos Sclater, who joined in 2011 as general counsel.
Shares in GKN rose 3.3 per cent to 338 pence after the news on Thursday.
Mr Stein’s retirement was widely expected, with Mr Cummings seen as the favourite to take over.
Mike Turner, GKN’s chairman, said Mr Stein had led “the transformation of the group, greatly expanding the aerospace division . . . he has been instrumental in GKN’s substantial growth”.
Under Mr Stein the group, which also makes parts and systems for more than 50 per cent of the world’s cars, has sought to outperform its aerospace and automotive markets. In July it bucked a wider car market downturn with a significantly better than expected performance in its driveline business. However, the shares have edged back 14 per cent since February 2014, amid concerns over the pricing pressure in aerospace and a slowdown in global car demand.Discover More