US engineering group TRW confirmed last week that Victor Rice is stepping down as head of LucasVarity.
He was pencilled in to become vice-chairman of the combined group, but is understood to have resigned after being offered a less important job.
Rice, who aroused shareholder anger last year after trying to shift the company’s domicile to the US, suffered a damaging set-back last winter when his proposal failed to win sufficient support.
He is expected to receive about £17m in compensation and share options, but insiders said even this would not redress the balance. He was said to be looking forward to returning to work in the US.
Rice was previously criticised for preferring to spend his time in the US rather than the UK after the LucasVarity merger in 1996.
A TRW spokesman said it was too early to discuss how LucasVarity’s operations will be bedded down after the takeover. All is expected to be revealed in the next three or four weeks, he added.
Chairman Joe Gorman said: `Steps to integrate LucasVarity’s global automotive and aerospace businesses are well under way. We are finalising the organisation structure, filling key leadership positions.’
TRW last week reported earnings of $58.6m (£36.4m) for the first-quarter of 1999.