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Rolls-Royce appoints former Deloitte partner as its new finance chief

Rolls-Royce appoints a former Deloitte partner as its new finance chief as it seeks to rebound from the Covid crisis

Rolls-Royce has picked a former partner at Deloitte to be its finance boss as it tries to rebound from the Covid crisis.

Panos Kakoullis, 53, will take over from Stephen Daintith at the engineer in early May. Kakoullis is a surprising pick for the job as he has never held a role at a publicly-listed company. 

But he spent 20 years at Big Four accountant Deloitte, rising to the head of the firm’s global audit operations and advising FTSE 100 groups such as Vodafone and Tesco.

Rolls-Royce is in the process of an overhaul that includes cutting 9,000 jobs from its 52,000-strong pre-pandemic workforce, many of which are from the same arm that makes jet engines

He will now be tasked with steering a sweeping turnaround at Rolls during what chief executive Warren East has described as the firm’s ‘darkest hour’ since it went bust in the 1970s.

Kakoullis’s appointment comes amid speculation that, despite a mammoth restructuring, Rolls could still require state intervention or could even merge with Airbus. Ministers have considered the possibility of a tie-up with the European plane maker, according to the Sunday Times.

Airbus had weighed up the possibility of merging with its supplier long before the pandemic, according to reports, but the complexity of such a deal was among the reasons the idea was ditched.

Rolls in the process of a huge overhaul that includes cutting 9,000 jobs from its 52,000-strong pre-pandemic workforce, many of which are from the same arm that makes jet engines, and selling off £2billion of businesses. 

Turnover and profits have been battered by the slump in air travel because it gets paid for the number of hours its engines fly.

Rolls’ dire financial position, huge debts and the cuts it has made to its commercial aviation division have led analysts to question will be able to last as a stand-alone company.

Nick Cunningham, analyst at equity research firm Agency Partners, said: ‘The issue is, has Rolls-Royce really got the resources to remain an independent and successful entity given all the challenges it faces?’

By cutting the size of the jet engine unit by a third, analysts have also questioned how quickly it will be able to ramp up engine production once orders for planes start rising.

Although Rolls also works in industries such as nuclear power and defence, around half its revenue usually comes from the commercial aviation arm.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk