Lothian Buses chiefs slam ‘intimidating’ Ian Craig

Lothian Buses' boss Ian Craig was described as 'petulant' by his fellow directors. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Lothian Buses' boss Ian Craig was described as 'petulant' by his fellow directors. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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LOTHIAN Buses boss Ian Craig was branded “intimidating” and “petulant” by fellow directors who said they had lost trust and confidence in the £270,000-a-year chief executive.

Details of the boardroom fall-out which have rocked the publicly-owned bus company are revealed in the letter of complaint which sparked an internal investigation.

Operations director Bill Campbell, engineering director Bill Devlin and finance director Norman Strachan – known in the company as the Annandale Three – made a series of allegations against Mr Craig, 45, including his failure to involve them in the hiring and firing of key staff. In their letter detailing their official grievance, the directors said: “We feel Mr Craig’s management and leadership has become of such concern that we no longer have any trust or confidence in his actions.

“He displays intimidating and petulant behaviour when challenged which has made it impossible to discuss the issues raised in this grievance with him.”

A leaked copy of the internal inquiry into the grievances expressed “severe doubts” about his leadership abilities. It said Mr Craig had “patently” failed to address their charges against him and ­labelled the entire senior management team “dysfunctional”.

The report went on to describe Mr Craig’s manner in dealing with staff as “questionable” and said he had “failed to realise how insensitive his actions were perceived to be”.

However, the inquiry, by John Martin, a non-executive director of the Edinburgh-based firm, said Mr Craig had not “failed to the extent that disciplinary action is required”.

The report said if the directors had acted more forcefully “it is possible some of the current difficulties may have been nipped in the bud”.

Mr Martin, a former Scottish Government transport official, said Mr Craig “did not significantly dissent” from the directors’ claim they operated in “separate parallel worlds” .

Upholding five out of eight grievances, he said of Mr Craig: “He has, however, not done as well as he may himself think, and as might be inferred by the public from the relative success of the company since he took over. Improvements in his approach and performance are needed.”

Following the submission of Mr Martin’s report to the board, chairwoman Ann Faulds, with the backing of board members, approached the city council with a view to sacking Mr Craig. But he was not sacked and instead Ms Faulds submitted her own resignation.

The four directors have since returned to work at the Annandale Street HQ and a mediation process is under way, overseen by interim chairman and non-executive director, Tony Depledge.

City transport convener Lesley Hinds said she deplored the leaking of a confidential report. She added: “Tony Depledge continues to work tirelessly to restore stability to Lothian Buses after such an unsettled period for the ­company.”

Mr Depledge said: “I’m angry and disappointed that such a sensitive document has been leaked. This investigation, as far as I’m concerned, is not yet complete as the chief executive has not had the opportunity to respond. I will be looking closely at how the whole process was handled and at the points raised within the investigation which focus on all of the executive directors, not just the chief executive.”