Board ‘wanted Lothian Buses chief out’ claim

Ann Faulds' letter claims the Lothian Buses board tried to oust Ian Craig. Picture: Hemedia

Ann Faulds' letter claims the Lothian Buses board tried to oust Ian Craig. Picture: Hemedia

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A LEAKED letter claims board members from Lothian Buses had unanimously agreed to sack its chief executive – but were blocked by the city council.

The resignation letter by former chair Ann Faulds claims it was not just her, but the entire board who had sought to oust boss Ian Craig following an investigation into his abrasive management style and failure to consult them on major decisions.

And it claims the city council refused to back the board, prompting Ms Faulds to quit her post.

But Lothian Buses insists no formal board meeting had been held and that claims there was “unanimous” support to fire Mr Craig are false.

It comes amid a bitter boardroom split at the council-owned firm after three executive directors – operations director Bill Campbell, engineering director Bill Devlin, and finance director Norman Strachan – lodged a grievance against Mr Craig.

Following an investigation by Ms Faulds, no disciplinary action was taken against Mr Craig, and peace talks were launched to heal the rift.

But it later emerged Ms Faulds had recommended Mr Craig leave the firm.

She resigned her post at Lothian Buses more than two weeks ago with city transport convener councillor Lesley Hinds brought onto the board, charged with getting the company back on track.

The directors who lodged the complaint have not been seen at the bus company’s Annandale Street HQ since Mr Craig returned to work following Ms Faulds’ resignation.

Ms Faulds’ resignation letter has been published by trade magazine Passenger Transport.

But while the authenticity of the letter has not been challenged, the accuracy of her claims has been.

Ms Faulds claimed complaints against the chief executive had been “upheld” and there had been unanimous backing from the board to ask the council for consent to teminate Mr Craig’s contract.

She wrote: “This request was made following a very detailed investigation, as well as full consideration and exploration of alternative options. The decision by the board to seek this consent was not taken lightly.

“It is believed it was in the best interests of the company, its staff and shareholders.”

And she continued: “In the light of this decision . . I believe it would no longer be appropriate for me to continue as chairman of Lothian Buses. I hereby resign with immediate effect.”

Tony Depledge, interim chair of Lothian Buses, said: “Whilst I don’t want to comment in detail on a leaked letter, there was no board meeting where any decision was made about this matter.

“I’m now concentrating on looking forward, rather than looking back, to find a positive way forward for the company.”

paris.gourtsoyannis@edinburghnews.com