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During the year under review the audit committee was chaired by Mr Manser, an independent non-executive director. Mr Manser was first appointed to the committee on 1 June 2001 and chaired his first meeting of the committee on 28 May 2002. Mr Manser qualified as a chartered accountant in 1964 and was made a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in 1976. He has held the following senior positions: managing director of Jardine Fleming Hong Kong, managing director of the Save and Prosper Group, group chief executive of Robert Fleming Holdings and chairman of Robert Fleming Holdings Ltd.

Lord Fellowes, Mr Levett, Mr Morland and Ms De Lisi served on the committee throughout the year. Mr Levett and Mr Morland have been members of the committee from its first meeting on 13 April 1999. Lord Fellowes was appointed to the committee on 1 June 2001 and Ms De Lisi was appointed on 4 September 2002. Apart from the chairman, those members of the committee with financial experience and expertise are Mr Levett (actuary), and Ms De Lisi (accountant).

The new Combined Code requires that the audit committee be made up entirely of independent non-executive directors. As the relationship agreement with Altria requires that a nominee of Altria serve as a member of the audit committee, full compliance will not be feasible.

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