UK-based aerospace and automotive engineering company GKN has said that its CEO designate Kevin Cummings is leaving the company with immediate effect.

Cummings had been lined up to take over from veteran CEO Nigel Stein and his surprise departure follows a recent profit warning following a planned large write-off concerning working capital across aerospace plants in North America.

GKN said in a statement that the board has concluded that the next stage of GKN's development is "best delivered under alternative leadership." 

GKN said that with the exception of the working capital write-off, "all other guidance for the full year remains unchanged". 

Anne Stevens, currently a non-executive director of the Board, will assume the role of Interim Chief Executive with effect from 1 January 2018 until a successor is appointed.  As planned, Nigel Stein will continue as Chief Executive until he retires from the role on 31 December 2017.

GKN said that Stevens has extensive experience across both automotive and aerospace industries. She also had a 16-year career at Ford Motor Company, latterly as Chief Operating Officer for the Americas.

The appointment of Hans Büthker, formerly CEO Fokker Technologies, to the role of Chief Executive GKN Aerospace will be brought forward to take effect immediately.  He will work with the rest of the executive team to develop plans to improve margins and cash flow across the Group.

GKN said that the review of working capital across aerospace plants in North America is likely to result in a further write-off estimated to be between GBP80m and GBP130m, much of which built up before 2017.