BAE Systems will continue to be led by a UK national, after confirming the appointment of Ian King as its next chief executive.

To replace Mike Turner from 1 September, King (below) is currently BAE’s chief operating officer for the UK and the rest of the world (excluding the company’s North American business activities), and has previously held the post of group strategy and planning director for the company.

Ian King 
© BAE Systems

“Ian is a highly experienced business leader with a proven track record in our key home markets,” says BAE chairman Dick Olver in a 27 June statement. “His performance focus and depth of knowledge of the global defence industry will benefit the continued progression of the successful strategy that has been pursued by the company during the course of Mike Turner’s leadership.”

Speculation had been rife over recent months that BAE could look for an external successor for Turner, or even seek to appoint a foreign national to the post – a move which would have required permission from the UK government. But the move to appoint a long-serving senior executive will ensure a smooth transition, and a continuation of stated expansion objectives.

BAE also on 27 June announced the completion of its acquisition of Tenix Defence. The move boosts the company’s business activities in Australia; one of its six declared “home markets”, along with Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, the UK and the USA. Speaking to Flight International last year, King identified additional nations, including India and Japan, as being on his list for substantial business growth over the coming years.

Having spent more than 40 years with BAE, Turner will on 1 November assume the post of non-executive chairman for UK defence company Babcock International, replacing Gordon Campbell.