BAE Systems has formally launched the search for a new chief executive, following the confirmation that Mike Turner will step down from the company’s board on 31 August 2008.


Turner’s retirement after more than 40 years with BAE had been previously tipped, due to his turning 60 next year, but the newly released schedule for his departure will open the way for senior figures to vie for what is the top job in the UK defence industry, and for an annual salary currently worth more than £885,000 ($1.8 million).


 Mike Turner crop
© BAE Systems


“The company is now commencing the process of appointing a successor as chief executive officer to achieve an orderly handover,” said BAE in a 16 October statement. Both internal and external candidates will be considered for the post, although it adds that the successful bidder must be a UK citizen.


BAE is in its most stable condition for the last several years, having recovered from procurement crises with the Nimrod MRA4 reconnaissance aircraft, Type 45 destroyer and Astute submarine programmes, and due to its continued North American business growth, primarily achieved through the armoured vehicle sector. The company also expects to sign a strategic partnering agreement with the UK Ministry of Defence later this year, with this to bring long-term stability to its fixed-wing aircraft and unmanned air vehicle activities.