Katherine Bennett, who is currently senior vice president of Airbus’s UK arm, will succeed Dick Elsy when he retires as chief executive of the HVM Catapult later in 2021.

The announcement comes just days after the UK formally left the European Union (EU). Airbus said last week it would “analyse the consequences” of the Brexit deal on its operations – but welcomed the news that a no-deal disruption was to be avoided.

Ms Bennett said: “I am honoured to have been asked to lead the next phase of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult’s development, building on the strong foundations which have been created over the past eight years.

“The HVM Catapult has the wide-ranging relationships and understanding needed to be part of the Industrial Strategy refresh process and to contribute to building the UK’s status as a scientific superpower.”

“The catapult’s country-wide network of centres provides the ideal platform from which to diffuse the latest capabilities to the thousands of manufacturing businesses that are the bedrock of our economy, boosting their performance, preparing them to be part of the Prime Minister’s Green Industrial Revolution and growing their contribution to our national prosperity.”

Mr Elsy said the appointment was “very good news” for UK engineering and manufacturing.

“Her experience in a senior leadership role with Airbus in the UK means she brings a depth of understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by UK manufacturers as they innovate to grow their market share and address shared challenges such as reducing carbon emissions,” he said.

 Image: Western Daily Press