MoD Boss in QinetiQ 'Conflict of Interest'

Article excerpt

Byline: JAMES ROSSITER

CONTROVERSY over the stock market float of QinetiQ looks set to deepen after it emerged Mininstry of Defence finance boss Trevor Woolley is a director at the company.

On his watch, the defence firm has won through to the final bidding rounds of key contracts which may now support Stateowned QinetiQ as a private company. They include two prospective deals worth up to [pounds sterling]10 billion for armed forces training.

The company's planned [pounds sterling]1.1 billion stock market debut next month, effectively Labour's first privatisation of a former government department, is already mired in controversy over huge windfalls heading toward the executive management, the huge returns made by QinetiQ's private equity backer Carlyle and a reluctance to give the public a share of the float.

Woolley, 51, has been the MoD finance director since 2003 and has served on the QinetiQ board for the last two years.

While there is no suggestion that Woolley's work for the company is influencing the Government's selection of preferred bidders for contracts, his role has come under scrutiny following suggestions of conflicts of interest from opposition MPs.

Shadow Tory trade and industry secretary Alan Duncan has also voiced his concerns about the presence of Noreen Doyle - who also sits on the board of investment-bank Credit Suisse - as a QinetiQ non-executive director. …