Lothian Buses director quits over News leaks

Owen Boyle, below, says he has tried to remain 'neutral' during the boardroom dispute at Lothian Buses. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Owen Boyle, below, says he has tried to remain 'neutral' during the boardroom dispute at Lothian Buses. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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ONE of the directors at Lothian Buses has resigned from the board in the wake of the bitter boardroom dispute that has engulfed the city-run bus company.

Owen Boyle, an employee director who represents staff in high-level meetings, tendered his resignation yesterday in protest at the number of boardroom leaks appearing in the pages of the Evening News.

Mr Boyle condemned the revelations relating to a row between chief executive Ian Craig and three senior executives as “cowardly” and claimed he had attempted to remain neutral in the feud.

The row follows an investigation into grievances raised against Mr Craig by executives who claim he failed to consult them on major issues and had an abrasive management style.

No disciplinary action was taken against Mr Craig, who did not attend work at Lothian Buses HQ for ten weeks during the probe.

The three executives – operations director Bill Campbell, engineering director Bill Devlin and finance director Norman Strachan – are thought to have later walked out of their Annandale Street offices after former Lothian Buses chairwoman Ann Faulds was ousted from her post. It is claimed she asked the council for consent to sack Mr Craig and when senior councillors refused, she chose to resign.

Yesterday details finally emerged of the complaints filed against Mr Craig setting out the depth of the distrust at the top of the company.

The so-called “Annandale Three” branded their boss “intimidating” and “petulant”, and wrote: “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.”

A subsequent investigation upheld five out of eight complaints against Mr Craig, but he remains in post and all four men have committed to settling their differences.

In a resignation letter seen by the Evening News, Mr Boyle said: “From the comments made in the paper, it is obvious that someone with knowledge is making comments to the News and hiding behind a nom de plume. I do not want to be associated with such cowardly behaviour and it is with regret that I have to resign my position on the board.

“During the recent period of unrest within Lothian Buses’ board I believed that to remain neutral was the best position to take. I do not want my resignation to appear that I am siding with anyone.

“I wish you and colleagues on the board every success in taking Lothian Buses from strength to strength in the future.”

According to a Lothian Buses biography, Mr Boyle has worked in the transport industry since 1983, when he started as a driver at Lothian Regional Transport.

He currently works as Skills Development Manager, a role he has held since 2003. Mr Boyle will continue in that position.

Reacting to the resignation, Transport leader Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “I am disappointed Owen has resigned his position as an non-executive member on the Lothian Buses Board but fully understand given the difficult position he was placed in. I would like to put on record my appreciation for all his hard work.”