Speculation is growing that small-cap mining company Aurum could be about to embark on a new strategy away from its core business.
The Aim-listed group has gone on a hiring spree, recruiting high-profile figures from the aerospace, defence and cyber sectors, fuelling rumours it is preparing to change direction.
Aurum is expected to reveal another high profile hire as early as today,. One source suggested that Stephen Ball may join the board as a non-executive director.
Mr Ball was most recently UK chief executive of defence giant Lockheed Martin and is a former chief executive of GCHQ. He would join Robin Southwell, the former chief executive of Airbus UK who became a non-exec at Aurum a fortnight ago.
Another recent addition to Aurum’s team is Michael “Mo” Stevens, the former head of international market development for Airbus Defence and Space, who was appointed chief executive earlier this month.
Headhunting top staff with backgrounds in some of the world’s biggest defence and security businesses raises the prospect that Aurum could be about to abandon its roots in gold and tungsten mining, under the direction of chairman David Williams.
Mr Williams was instrumental in the creation of Breedon Group Plc, the UK-listed quarrying and aggregates business, now valued at £1bn. In 2010 his Marwyn investment vehicle, renamed Breedon Aggregates, acquired the former Ennstone business and went on to grow through the acquisition of other building materials businesses, including most recently Hope Construction Materials.
It is thought Mr Williams could be planning a similar strategy with Aurum.
Aurum, which has a market value of just £8m, declined to comment.