Appointment of John Weston as Chairman

Torotrak (LSE: TRK), leaders in the commercial application of gearless traction drive technology which delivers fuel efficiency and emission improvements in vehicles, announces the appointment of John Weston as Chairman with effect from 1 June 2011, when John Grant will retire from the board.

John Weston brings to Torotrak considerable experience gained at the helm of BAE Systems, a major FTSE 100 international engineering group. An engineer with substantial operational and relationship building experience, he took BAE Systems from a UK organisation with sales of around £7.5bn to an international group with sales of £12.5bn and employees of around 120,000. In contrast he has also led a number of various venture capital backed businesses and has a track record of value creation for investors.

John Grant leaves Torotrak after thirteen years on the board.  John has provided sound guidance and stewardship during that period and has built an effective team to see Torotrak progress through its most recent restructuring and strategic re-focus.

John Weston, aged 59, joined BAE as an undergraduate engineering apprentice in 1970 and progressed through a variety of positions on to major roles such as project director for the transformational £30bn Al-Yamamah programme in the Middle East, MD of BAE’s Military Aircraft Business, to Group Managing Director of BAE’s defence activities and then to the main board, latterly as Group Chief Executive, leaving BAE in 2002.  In this period, John Weston gained respect for his passion for engineering, and drive and determination to deliver major projects to a successful conclusion.

Since leaving BAE Systems, John Weston has gained the respect of private equity backers where he holds board positions ranging from  AWS Group Holdings Limited, MB Aerospace Holdings Limited and Acra Controls Limited (aerospace and defence engineering businesses) and most recently Lo-Q plc ( a technology based company with intellectual property in virtual queuing systems).

Previous board roles have included Spirent Plc, Inbis PLC, Insensys PLC and Isoft plc, which John joined as Chairman to lead its recovery and successful sale of the business following Isoft’s well publicised difficulties.

John Grant said: “With Torotrak in a strong financial position, and entering a new phase in the commercialisation of its technology, I believe the time is right to introduce a new Chairman with a fresh perspective.  The Board is delighted to have attracted someone of the calibre of John Weston to take over the chairmanship as Torotrak continues its drive towards production.

John joins Torotrak at a stage where his engineering background and experience with multinational companies will be extremely relevant.  I am confident that he will be a powerful ambassador in communicating the benefits of Torotrak’s technology to its expanding range of international contacts.”

John Weston said: “Torotrak has an enviable array of licensees and customers, and a compelling technology which can help to solve many of the big problems that vehicle manufacturers and OEMs are confronting.

As an engineer, I see that Torotrak is at a fascinating stage where innovative engineering can now convert into manufactured products that are significant in scale. Torotrak’s technology has the potential to produce a real impact in solving some of the key challenges facing vehicle manufacturers today.

Building shareholder value on the back of innovative engineering is what interests me. Torotrak appealed to me as an energetic and driven company that has great potential for growth.  I very much look forward to working with the dynamic management team to build on their success to date.”

Current directorships

Company  Date joined  Position 
Lo-Q Plc 2011 Chairman
Brittpac Ltd 2010 Director
AWS Ltd 2008 Chairman
MB Aerospace Holdings Limited 2007 Chairman
Acra Controls Ltd 2003 Chairman

Other positions 

John is Chairman and trustee for the University for Industry (the Government’s on line learning organisation) and Vice President of the Royal United Services Institute.  He is a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering (“RAEng”), having served on the council of the RAEng. John is a director of the German British Forum and a trustee of the Ditchley foundation. In addition to his CBE he is also a Commander of the Order of the Pole Star (Sweden) and a freeman of the City of London. He is a director of the Starlings (Holtwood Road) Residents Association Limited.  He graduated in 1973 from Cambridge University with an MA in Engineering.

Past directorships

Company  Date joined  Date left  Position on leaving 
Insensys Plc 2007 2008 Chairman
Synergy Insurance Holdings Ltd and group companies 2007 2009 Director
ISOFT plc 2005 2007 Chairman
Inbis plc 2004 2006 Chairman
Spirent plc 2003 2006 Chairman
BAE Systems plc and group companies 1970 2002 CEO

No further details regarding John Weston are required to be disclosed to comply with Rule 9.6.13 of the Listing Rules.