Dick's next trick - selling deadly arms and lecturing on ethics

5 November 2009

Anti-arms trade campaigners have reacted with anger and disbelief that the Chairman of Britain's biggest arms manufacturer is to deliver a lecture on ethics in business. Mr Dick Olver, chairman of BAE Systems, is scheduled to give the public the benefit of his wisdom at the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) on 12 November at Savoy Place in London.

Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) will make their presence felt outside the venue by staging a humorous riposte to Olver's message, entitled 'Dick Olver! Ha! Ha! Ha!' Other campaigners are intending to make the most of the event by submitting tough or satirical questions to Olver during the lecture.

Some people are wondering whether the invitation to the BAE Systems chairman is an elaborate hoax. However, we are nowhere near 1 April, and the IET website is still advertising the event.The lecture is being given at the behest of the IET, who, adding to the surreal nature of the story, have said they are "delighted" at the fact that Olver is delivering the lecture.

Kaye Stearman, CAAT's spokeperson, says:

Dick Olver of BAE Systems lecturing on ethics is a sick joke. It should go into the same category as Nick Griffin lecturing on multi-racial harmony or Bernard Madoff on financial probity.

For further comment please contact CAAT's Press Co-ordinator on 020 7281 0297 or 07990 673 232 or email media(at)caat·org·uk.



1. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) works for the reduction and ultimate abolition of the international arms trade together with progressive demilitarisation within arms producing countries.

2. On 1 October 2009 the Serious Fraud Office announced that it would begin prosecution proceedings against BAE Systems for alleged corruption and false accounting in its arms sales to four countries: the Czech republic, Romania, South Africa and Tanzania. A summary of known investigations into BAE is available on CAAT website here.

3. On 28 October 2009 an enquiry into the fatal fire on RAF Nimrod VX230, which resulted in the deaths of 14 British servicemen in the skies over Afghanistan in 2006, chaired by lawyer Mr Haddon-Cave, found that BAE Systems was in breach of its contractual obligations and rather than assist the enquiry had built " a wall of denial and obfuscation". He said that "BAE Systems was in breach of its contractual obligations ...in failing to use reasonable care and skill... The responsibility must lie with the leadership of the company."

4. Mr Olver is a civil engineer who spent thirty years with oil company BP before becoming Non-Executive Chairman of BAE Systems in July 2004. He has Honorary Doctorates in Science from City University and Cranfield University.

For further information about CAAT's riposte to Dick Olver's lecture email campaign(at)caat·org·uk. Tickets for the lecture are free but you must register in advance by logging on at the IET website.


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