Lothian Buses bosses bid to resolve bitter dispute

Lothian Buses chief executive Ian Craig. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Lothian Buses chief executive Ian Craig. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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A boardroom split at Lothian Buses is being pieced back together after rowing executives agreed to a peace deal that should bring to an end three months of infighting.

The dispute between the firm’s chief executive, Ian Craig, and his three most senior deputies ignited after they lodged grievances claiming he failed to consult them on major issues and had an abrasive management style.

An investigation was launched but no disciplinary action was taken against Mr Craig – who commands a £270,000 salary after bonuses.

But now interim chairman Tony Depledge has vowed to resolve the bad feeling in the board and put to bed a “bruising and difficult time” for the firm.

And he said the three directors – who have not been seen at Lothian Buses’ HQ for two weeks – had agreed to return to work.

They are thought to have walked out after former chairwoman Ann Faulds was ousted from her post following a dispute with the council. It is claimed she asked the council for consent to sack Mr Craig and, when senior councillors refused, she chose to resign.

In her resignation letter, Ms Faulds said she had received the “unanimous” backing of her fellow board members, a claim that is disputed by senior council figures.

The Evening News understands the interim chairman has held one-to-one discussions with each of the three executive directors involved.

Regular meetings are now planned that will bring all four men together for the first time since early September. In a statement, Tony Depledge said: “Each of the four executive directors has assured me of their support for my efforts to resolve our ­current problems.

“I will bring the directors together as a group on a regular basis, under my chairmanship, to work our way out of the problems. The executive directors have agreed to this and will start our work together next week.

Mr Depledge added: “I believe that the knowledge, skills and experience that each of them has is of immense value to the company.

“Through a joint effort, under my chairmanship, I believe we can work our way out of the problems we have encountered recently.”

Transport convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “Tony Depledge deserves credit for tackling the issues head on in his new role as interim chair of the Lothian Buses board.