Nine directors to go as BNFL moves to restore confidence

British Nuclear Fuels is to get rid of nine directors as part of a management shake-up intended to restore the confidence of customers and regulators following a series of safety scandals.

Chairman Hugh Collum said that all six non-executive directors would be replaced along with finance director Ross Chiese, human resources director Roger Leek and director of safety David Coulston.

Four of the non-executive directors – Sir John Boyd, professor Alistair MacFarlane, John Rimmington and Grahame Smith – will leave when their terms expire in August 2000. Kate Mortimer will leave at the end of the year and John Roques by the end of 2001. Rimmington was formerly director-general of the Health and Safety Executive, which oversees the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate.

Collum said the company now had `a different future and different needs’ and he would be recruiting board members who would give it `a good mix of commercial and international public company experience’.

`I wanted to ensure that we achieve much greater management focus and accountability, not only in safety matters but also in commercial matters,’ he added.

BNFL also announced that it had accepted all 43 recommendations for improving safety at its Sellafield site made in two highly critical NII reports published in February.

Chief executive Norman Askew said: `We accept the recommendations and are committed to implementing them in full. I will personally be leading implementation on behalf of the board.’

The improvements broadly cover safety management systems, allocation of resources and independent inspection.

Specific steps to achieve these goals include the appointment of Brian Watson, formerly head of reprocessing, to the new post of director of Sellafield operations with full accountability for safety across the site. The company will also appoint a new team of independent safety compliance inspectors and advisers.