For Lucas' Chief, Trouble Across The Pond

Britain's George Simpson has modest tastes. His hobbies include watching rugby and downing a pint at the local pub. But now, Simpson, 52--who took the helm at $4 billion Lucas Industries in May, after turning carmaker Rover Group around--may not have time even for such diversions.

In late July, Lucas admitted publicly that it failed to test properly the wing-flap actuators on Boeing 767 commercial jets--although it and Boeing say that the parts pass inspection. Though Lucas denies published reports that the U.S. Justice Dept. has launched a criminal probe, one may yet be started.

On top of that, in May, Lucas paid a $12 million fine after pleading guilty to supplying defective missile-launchers and radios to the U.S. Defense Dept. And the U.S. Attorney for Southern California is investigating whether Lucas intentionally supplied substandard engine gearboxes for the Navy's F/A-18 fighter-jet program, a top law-enforcement source says. A spokesman says Lucas has fixed the gearbox glitches, but the indictments still are considered likely. Looks as if Simpson won't be doing much drinking with the boys any time soon.

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