LONDON (Reuters) -BAE Systems, Britain’s biggest defence company, named Cressida Hogg as its next chair on Thursday, as it reported stronger-than-expected half-year results and announced a new share buyback plan.

The builder of combat ships, submarines and fighter jets said Hogg, currently chair at commercial landlord group LandSec, would become chair designate from November, and succeed retiring Roger Carr next year.

BAE said its underlying earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose 8.2% year-over-year to 1.11 billion pounds in the six months to June 30, while sales climbed 5% to 10.58 billion pounds.

The results beat analysts’ average expectations for sales of 10.45 billion pounds and underlying EBIT of 1.07 billion pounds, according to company-supplied estimates.

It also said it would buy back shares worth up to 1.5 billion pounds ($1.8 billion) and boost its interim dividend by 5%.

BAE’s shares have performed strongly since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, and reached an all-time high of 847 pence earlier this month.

“We see further opportunities to enhance the medium- and long‑term outlook as our customers commit to increased defence spending to address the elevated threat environment,” Chief Executive Charles Woodburn said.

The company remained closely engaged with its customers to provide support for mission critical activities as the conflict in Ukraine continued, it said.

($1 = 0.8212 pounds)

(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar, Editing by Paul Sandle)