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Rolls-Royce announces that Grazia Vittadini, former CTO at Airbus, will be joining as Chief Technology Officer, Designate, to succeed Paul Stein when he steps down next year after almost 12 years leading the pioneering research and technology efforts. Separately, Harry Holt, Chief People Officer, has decided to leave to take up the post of Chief Operating Officer at Vertical Aerospace. His successor will be announced in due course.


Grazia, who will join on 2 November 2021, spent almost 20 years at Airbus and over the last decade held a number of senior positions, most recently Chief Technology Officer.

As CTO, she piloted Airbus into bold, new and sustainable technologies, ranging from electrification and hydrogen-based propulsion to digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence, autonomy, connectivity and advanced materials, while creating a diverse, high-performing technology organization. She stood down from her CTO role at Airbus in July and leaves at the end of October.

Authority comments

Grazia is looking forward to delivering all new products that are compatible with net-zero operation by 2030 Warren East, CEO, Rolls-Royce, said, “I am delighted to announce the appointment of Grazia Vittadini. She brings with her extensive expertise in the emerging and disruptive technologies that will help us on our journey to net-zero and further expand our digital innovation. She also has many years of experience working with our fundamental technologies and has a deep understanding of the safety-critical systems which are at the core of our product portfolio.

Grazia Vittadini, said, “I relish the opportunity to join the Rolls-Royce family and continue its drive to pioneer the power that matters to connect, power and protect society. The commitment to ensuring all new products are compatible with net-zero operation by 2030 is a bold one and one I'm very much looking forward to delivering on it, together with the outstanding teams that Rolls-Royce has across the world.

Acknowledging the commitment

Warren East added: “I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to two wonderful colleagues, and indeed the thanks of my wider leadership team and all of us at Rolls-Royce to both Paul and Harry for their hard work and dedication over many years."

"During his time, Paul has navigated us through one of the most intense R&D periods in our history, as we have put more new civil aircraft engine types into the sky than ever before while laying the foundations for our next-generation technologies and creating new businesses in electrification and small modular nuclear reactors."

"Harry has steered us through a time of great transformation and cultural change across our business and has been instrumental in the successful delivery of our restructuring in response to the impact of the pandemic. We wish them both the best of luck for the future.

Future opportunities

Paul Stein, who joined Rolls-Royce in 2010 as Chief Scientific Officer, will step down from his current role at the end of the first quarter of 2022. He will remain as Chairman of Rolls-Royce SMR, the venture that is creating small modular reactors for the provision of low cost, reliable, low carbon energy, and will continue to help the Group in other ways.

Harry Holt will leave at the end of this year after a decade with Rolls-Royce, in which he has led several organisations, including the Nuclear business, and has been responsible for the HR, HS&E and global business services teams since 2018. The search for his successor is underway.

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