23 October, 2003

Non-executive Director and Chairman Designate

Ashtead Group plc is pleased to announce that Cob Stenham has accepted an invitation to join its board as a non-executive director as from 27 October 2003. He will become Non-executive Chairman on 1 January 2004.

Cob Stenham brings to Ashtead considerable and varied commercial and banking experience gained principally in the UK and USA with major international organisations such as Unilever plc and NV where he was Finance Director from 1970 to 1986. In 1978 and 1979 he was additionally Chairman of Unilever's North American operations. Between 1986 and 1990 Cob was Chairman of Bankers Trust Europe and a Managing Director of Bankers Trust New York and he was Executive Chairman of Arjo Wiggins Appleton plc from 1991 to 1997. Earlier this year, Cob stepped down as a non-executive director of Standard Chartered plc having held office since October 1991 and, currently, he holds a number of non-executive directorships of public companies, including being the Chairman of Telewest Communications plc.

Henry Staunton will vacate the role of chairman on 1 January 2004 but will remain a non-executive director of Ashtead.

Henry Staunton commented:
"It is appropriate for me to step down as chairman in favour of Cob Stenham as the role requires more time to be spent on Ashtead affairs than I can give due to my executive directorship with Granada plc and, in particular, my future role with ITV plc, especially as George Burnett, Chief Executive, is currently spending most of his time in the USA. I am very pleased to remain as a non-executive director. It is a significant triumph for Ashtead to attract someone of Cob's experience and status.

Cob joins us at a time when the Group is putting behind it the difficulties of the last year and when its businesses in the USA, its principal market, are beginning to show signs of improvement."