April 3, 2007 / 11:41 AM / 12 years ago

Finmeccanica hires BAE's Mogford to head Selex

LONDON, April 3 (Reuters) - Italian defence company Finmeccanica SIFI.MI said on Tuesday it had hired BAE Systems’ BA.L former chief operating officer, Steve Mogford, to head its Selex Sensors and Airborne Systems SpA division.

Finmeccanica bought the remaining 25 percent of Selex from BAE last month.

Mogford has spent 30 years at BAE and predecessor British Aerospace and in the 1990s oversaw its controversial Al Yamamah programme, a long-running arms-for-oil deal between Britain and Saudi Arabia in which BAE serves as prime contractor.

He will take over as chief executive officer of Selex in May, with responsibility for both the UK and Italian operations - Selex SAS UK and Galileo Avionica, Finmeccanica said.

BAE Chairman Dick Olver praised Mogford in a statement to the London Stock Exchange, citing his efforts to improve BAE’s performance in managing programmes and noted his role in the Eurofighter Typhoon combat jet, which BAE and Finmeccanica built with Airbus parent firm EADS EAD.PA.

Selex makes components used on the Eurofighter.

BAE said the 50-year-old Mogford would retire from its board after its annual general meeting to be held on May 9. He served as chief operating officer for programmes until the end of 2006 and is currently group executive director.

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office in December abruptly ended an investigation into past dealings surrounding Al Yamamah including allegations that BAE ran a slush fund for entertaining members of the Saudi royal family.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair defended the decision, saying that continuation of the probe could damage relations between Britain and the Kingdom.

BAE has consistently denied any wrongdoing in the matter.

In 2006, Finmeccanica said Selex recorded revenues of about 1.75 billion euros ($2.34 billion) with 4,100 employees in the UK and 3,100 based in Italy.

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