Business news in brief: IoD | Airbus | Regenersis | Wellcome Trust

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The Institute of Directors (IoD) has appointed Nimble Thompson, the outgoing chairman of mechanical and electrical contractor NG Bailey, as its deputy chair.

Thompson, formerly the senior partner at law firm Eversheds in Leeds and Manchester, takes up his new role on Monday, replacing Philippa Foster-Back, who leaves after three terms of office.

IoD chairman Ian Dormer said Thompson, who is stepping down from NG Bailey this summer after 12 years at the helm, “brings a significant wealth and breadth of experience” to the organisation.

New jet completes maiden test flight

The Airbus A350 has taken off on its maiden flight, setting the stage for intensifying competition with US rival Boeing in the long-haul wide-body aircraft market.

Yesterday’s flight from Toulouse marks a key step on the path to full certification. More than half of the A350 – Airbus’s first all-new plane in eight years – is made up of lightweight carbon-fibre, designed to save on jet fuel.

Boeing, still recovering from problems with the lithium batteries on its 787 Dreamliner, dominates the long-haul market with the 787 and 777.

Regenersis investor takes strategy role

Activist investor Hanover appears to be stamping its authority on Regenersis, one of the largest employers in Scotland’s electronics sector.

Tom Russell, a partner in Hanover and previously a non-executive director at the gadget repair specialist, has become a full-time executive with responsibility for “strategy development and deployment”.

Hanover owns about 23 per cent of Regenersis, which repairs devices for companies including HTC, Nokia and Samsung. The firm is consulting with staff over the possible closure of its Inchinnan plant.

Wellcome Trust ups holding in Optos

The Wellcome Trust has raised its stake in Dunfermline-based eyecare company Optos.

The charitable foundation bought an extra 845,000 shares in Optos, lifting its holding to 4.31 per cent, up from 3.14 per cent previously.

Optos last month revealed a sharp drop in profits, which it blamed on delays in the rollout of its Daytona retinal scanning device. The firm is also restructuring its operations in the UK and US and closing a facility in Canterbury. Research and development activities will focus on Fife, where it employs about 150 people.