Comment: The days of sky-high pay are numbered

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A DRAMATIC day at Lothian Buses will mean uncertain times ahead for the firm as four 
 directors, including chief executive Ian Craig, head towards the exit.

Whatever the fall-out from the boardroom feud, however, at least one thing seems sure: the days of the top executives in Annandale Street taking home ridiculous sky-high salaries are numbered.

And that has to be a welcome move.

We have repeatedly questioned how directors at the publicly-owned bus firm could be paid so much.

Ian Craig’s £270,000 pay packet dwarfs those paid to the Prime Minister, the First Minister and other leading public officials . . . in fact so do the salaries picked up by the other three directors.

That’s not to say Lothian Buses isn’t an excellent award-winning company. Edinburgh has public transport which is the envy of other cities and if it is successful, those in charge should expect to be rewarded.

The level of remuneration has, however, gone off the scale.

When the chief executive of NHS Lothian with all its challenges picks up £120,000 less than the man who makes sure the buses run on time then it is clear something is very wrong.

We are not expecting the new chief executive to be paid the minimum wage – in a competitive marketplace, Transport for Edinburgh will have to offer an attractive package to ensure the right appointment is made.

Whenever they arrive, the new executive team will have a big job on their hands to repair relations and undo the damage caused by the events of the last few months.

Bonuses will likely still have to be paid but these must be awarded in an open and transparent 
fashion.

Most importantly, they must be clearly linked to the performance of a company which, we should not forget, is ultimately working for the taxpayer.