Cobham CEO to Step Down After Profit Warnings, Rights Issue

  • Bob Murphy to leave company ‘no later than the end of 2016’
  • New chief has worked at BAE, Thales, BT Group security unit

Cobham Plc Chief Executive Officer Bob Murphy is stepping down from the defense-electronics contractor by the end of this year and will be replaced by David Lockwood, the head of wireless and electromagnetic developer Laird Plc.

Murphy will leave Cobham “no later than the end of 2016 to pursue other opportunities,” the U.K. company said in a statement. Lockwood will also join the board when he becomes CEO, it said.

The move comes after profit warnings in November and April, as well as a move to raise 500 million pounds ($651 million) through a rights issue. Cobham has struggled as operational issues in its wireless business have delayed shipments and demand dropped in Asia and among its customers in the oil market.

“David has a background in defense and communications technology which are at the heart of Cobham,” Chairman John Devaney said in the statement. “We look forward to him joining the company and thank Bob for his contribution.”

Cobham shares rose 4 percent to 166.70 pence at 9:50 a.m. in London, paring their decline for the year to 31 percent. Laird declined 6.7 percent to 309 pence.

Murphy’s successor Lockwood previously worked at military contractors BAE Systems Plc and Thales SA as well as at BT Group Plc’s security business before moving to Laird. The decision follows a June announcement that Chief Financial Officer Simon Nicholls would be replaced by David Mellors, the current CFO of QinetiQ Group.

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