BAA, formerly British Airports Authority, suddenly announced the

resignation of its chief executive of two years' standing Jeremy


The company's bald statement to this effect added that BAA chairman

Sir Norman Payne would assume the chief executive's responsibilities

until a successor for Mr Marshall had been found.

A spokesman later denied that Mr Marshall had gone following a

boardroom row, adding that he had left ''on mutually agreed terms to

pursue other business interests.''

Any compensation paid for the loss of his #220,000 plus a year job

will only appear in next year's BAA annual report. Only two months ago

Mr Marshall's picture appeared in the annual report for 1988/89. He was

listed as having 9982 BAA shares plus options on a further 168,950.

Mr Marshall became chief executive in June 1987, after several years

with Hanson Trust, latterly with its Imperial Foods subsidiary.

His abrupt and unexplained departure, along with further

reorganisation of the board, is bound to fuel speculation about internal

dissension within the BAA board, which is under pressure from airlines,

particularly British Airways, to expand its airport facilities more


BA is putting strong pressure on the company to build a fifth terminal

at London's Heathrow Airport. And there is continuing doubt about the

viability of Prestwick. The group also takes in Glasgow, Aberdeen and

Edinburgh airports.

BAA maintains that the priority is to sort out Europe's air traffic

control problems. More terminal capacity comes second, followed by

runway capacity.

Longer-term worries for the group include a forthcoming review of its

activites by the Office of Trading and moves by the European Commission

to harmonise duties, which could mean the demise of duty free shops.

These currently generate #135m of annual revenue for BAA and a large

though undisclosed slice of profits.

Mr Jeremy Marshall