Melrose Industries co-founder David Roper to step down

David Roper, one of the founders of Melrose, has announced he is to retire from the industrial buyout firm a year after its £8 billion acquisition of GKN.

The executive vice-chairman said he will step down from the London-listed firm at the end of May 2020.

The 69-year-old set up the business alongside Christopher Miller and Simon Peckham and oversaw a number of major transactions as the company’s chief executive between 2003 and 2012.

Melrose led a hostile takeover of FTSE-100 listed engineering giant GKN last year, sealing an £8 billion deal for the firm following a protracted process punctuated by Government interventions.

Mr Roper’s retirement announcement came ahead of its annual general meeting, where the firm is set to discuss concerns over executive pay.

Last year, the firm suffered an investor backlash over pay, after 22% of shareholders opposed its executive pay-out which saw its top four directors each receive £42 million.

This year’s remuneration plans are set to pay out a more modest £3.1 million between the executives.

Ahead of the AGM, Melrose said that trading was in line with expectations for the four months to the end of April 2019.

“Good progress” has been made to deliver operational changes to improve margins at GKN, the company added.

Last month, the firm announced plans to close GKN’s site in King’s Norton, Birmingham, which makes canopies and windows for military and civilian planes, by March 2021.

Justin Dowley, chairman of Melrose, said: “We have recently laid out our targets for GKN which are better than those we indicated only one year ago at the time of the acquisition, and which come on the back of a stronger performance than expected in the first year of ownership.

“We are delighted to keep investing in all our businesses, including Nortek and Brush, and look forward to another year of progress. The businesses we own have very valuable qualities and characteristics, and we look forward to maximising their potential.”

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