The appointment comes at a crucial time for the firm in terms of its relationship with the Government.
It is just weeks away from finding out whether it has won a £10bn contract from the Ministry of Defence to construct 30 Hawk jets. If it fails to get the contract, 470 jobs at its Brough plant in East Yorkshire will be at risk.
Already, workers at the plant have lobbied MPs directly outside Parliament, in a bid to put pressure on the Government not to award the contract to a European competitor.
BAE also recently missed out on winning the full contract to manufacture UK aircraft carriers. Earlier this year the firm was told that although it had won lead contractor rights, the design of the ships was to be handled by French firm Thales (PRWeek, 21 February).
BAE media relations director Phil Soucy confirmed that Scopes will take the lead in handling government relations over the Hawk contract.
Scopes replaces Bill Giles, who has been moved to head EU lobbying efforts in Brussels. Soucy dismissed as ‘nonsense’ insinuation in some press reports this week that Giles’s move was linked to the failure to secure the full aircraft carrier contract.
Scopes’s appointment also comes as BAE is reported to be considering a merger or link-up with a US partner, potentially Boeing.