Baroness Catherine Ashton joins board of Passport maker De La Rue  

Baroness Catherine Ashton has joined the board of Passport and banknote maker De La Rue

Baroness Catherine Ashton has joined the board of Passport and banknote maker De La Rue

 Baroness Catherine Ashton has joined the board of Passport and banknote maker De La Rue

Passport and banknote maker De La Rue has added former EU trade representative Baroness Catherine Ashton to its board as it steps up efforts to fix the business.

Ashton was the European Commissioner for Trade between 2008 and 2009 before becoming the EU’s first high representative for foreign affairs and security policy. The 64-year-old, who is a life peer, also sits on the advisory board of Garda World, the Canadian security company trying to buy G4S in a hostile takeover.

Her appointment comes as De La Rue is part-way through a three-year turnaround plan kicked off by chief executive Clive Vacher when he joined last year.

The world’s largest banknote maker had put out a string of profit warnings after losing the contract to print Britain’s blue post-Brexit passports in 2017.

Its reputation was hit in July 2019 when the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) announced an investigation into ‘suspected corruption’ in South Sudan. 

The SFO scrapped the probe in June this year and soon after De La Rue raised £100million from investors that it said would go towards plans to double its capacity to print plastic banknotes, which are easier to clean and likely to be more popular in the Covid era.

De La Rue has also added Margaret Rice-Jones, a technology specialist who was a director at industrial inkjet print head maker Xaar from 2015 to 2020, to the board.

De La Rue chairman Kevin Loosemore said Ashton and Rice-Jones ‘bring highly relevant experience in global government and geopolitical affairs in the software, telecoms and technology industries’.

De La Rue shares fell 2 per cent, or 2.6p, to 130p.

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