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BAE Systems Replaces Independent Director Opposed by Investor

BAE Systems Plc has named Nick Rose as an independent director less than a month after the largest shareholder in the U.K. defense firm called for the replacement of incumbent Peter Mason.

Mason’s term was due to expire on Jan. 21 and he will retire at the May 8 annual general meeting, London-based BAE said in a statement. Rose, who has chaired the audit committee at BAE since October 2010, will be part of the board’s nominations committee. That organization would lead the search for a new chairman.

In the wake of BAE’s proposed merger with European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co., Invesco Ltd. sent a letter to management asking chairman Dick Olver to quit and also demanding the departure of independent director Peter Mason. Invesco Ltd., which holds a 13.4 percent stake, opposed the merger claiming it made little financial sense and added that BAE was misguided on its capital allocation strategy and on the high price paid on acquisitions.

Olver, whose term expires in May 2014, took over as BAE chairman in the middle of 2004 from Richard Evans, who retired. He previously worked at BP Plc. After the merger plan broke down, Olver said that BAE would revert to its previous strategy. He expressed support for the management team under Chief Executive Officer Ian King and said that no personnel changes were planned.

BAE shares fell as much as 4 pence or 1.3 percent today to 302.40 pence, the lowest level since Aug. 2, and were trading at 303.10 pence at 9:34 a.m. in London, valuing the business at 9.85 billion.

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