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Rolls-Royce names former Deloitte partner Kakoullis as CFO By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Workers apply Rolls-Royce decal to the engine of a Bombardier Global 6500 business jet

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Rolls-Royce (OTC:) named Panos Kakoullis as its new chief financial officer, picking the former head of Deloitte’s audit and assurance practice to help steer its cost-cutting and simplification as it tries to ride out COVID-19.

The pandemic has shattered Rolls-Royce’s finances because it is paid by airlines on a flying-hours basis, and the company warned in January that the start of this year was even more difficult than expected.

The aero-engines maker said Kakoullis would start on May 3.

Chief Executive Warren East said his experience made him a good fit.

“Panos delivered significant transformational change at Deloitte, streamlining and simplifying the business and we look forward to benefitting from his expertise and experience as we deliver on our fundamental reorganisation,” East said.

Rolls’s current CFO Stephen Daintith, who resigned last year after being poached by online retailer group Ocado (LON:), will leave Rolls-Royce on Mar. 19. Ben Fidler, currently acting deputy CFO, will be interim CFO in the six weeks until Kakoullis arrives.

Jefferies (NYSE:) analyst Sandy Morris said of the appointment: “We suspect the market might have been more immediately reassured by a familiar name, one with corporate experience, but it is hard to question Mr Kakoullis’s experience, technical credentials and knowledge of driving the adoption of AI and advanced analytics.”

Despite the deepening travel crisis due to new strains of the coronavirus, Rolls has said its liquidity of 9 billion pounds gives it confidence.

It is selling assets worth 2 billion pounds and cutting more than 1 billion pounds in costs by axing 9,000 jobs, closing factories and planning a two week operational shutdown in the summer of some units.

Kakoullis joined Deloitte as a graduate and worked there until May 2019. He has since worked for PA Consulting.

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