In December 2003, Euan Baird, our Chairman, suffered a stroke
and is not expected to be able to return to his duties before March
2004. On behalf of everyone in the Group, I would like to wish Euan
a speedy recovery.
Over the last two months I have served as Acting Chairman and I
will continue in this role until Euan Baird is able to resume his
duties as Chairman.
Rolls-Royce has continued to demonstrate remarkable
consistency in 2003 and has delivered on the performance forecasts
it gave after the events of September 11, 2001. In 2003, our
profitability improved and our debt was reduced.
The resilience of the Group is in no small part due to the efforts
and sacrifices of our employees worldwide and I would like to thank
them for their strong commitment and hard work at a time of
considerable challenge and uncertainty.
Over the past few years the Group has developed a strong,
international management team and its swift response in difficult
market conditions has enabled us to deliver consistently in line
As part of the restructuring of the Board, three new non-executive
directors have been appointed. Former US Ambassador to the OECD,
Amy Bondurant; Carl-Peter Forster who is Chairman and Chief
Executive of the General Motors’ German subsidiary, Adam Opel AG;
and the respected industrialist Ian Strachan, all joined the Board
in September 2003.
The balanced nature of the businesses, coupled with our
demonstrated ability to manage uncertainty, supports our confidence
that we will be able to continue to improve the performance of the
Group and generate value for shareholders.
Lord Moore of Lower Marsh
February 11, 2004