Lothian Buses has confirmed that all four of the company’s executive directors locked in a bitter boardroom row will leave the company.
The move is an acknowledgement that attempts to patch up the damaged working relationship between chief executive Ian Craig and his three deputies known as “the Annandale three” have failed.
The departures will take place over the next two years, which represents the notice period in the men’s contracts.
They are part of a package of measures proposed at this morning’s board meeting by chairman Tony Depledge, in an effort to draw a line under six months of turmoil at the company.
The council-owned bus company has been dogged by infighting for months with the three deputies – operations director Bill Campbell, engineering director Bill Devlin and finance director Norman Strachan – lodging a formal grievance against Mr Craig in October amid claims he undermined them and failed to consult on major decisions.
The four have also faced controversy in recent years over their wages of between £200,000 and £250,000, including bonuses.
‘Succession planning’ measures will be put in place to ensure the proper leadership of the company, Mr Depledge insists.
In a statement following the meeting, the chairman said: “My commitment is to ensure that Lothian Buses is equipped to thrive as a modern, agile business to the benefit of its customers and to the wider city economy as part of an integrated network.
“Recent months have been bruising and damaging for this company in terms of its reputation but, in terms of its performance as a business, we continue to succeed. However, for this success to be sustainable it’s vital that we restore confidence and stability to the leadership of Lothian Buses.
“This means that change is required. This decision hasn’t been taken lightly and issues raised in recent weeks have led me to the understanding that structure and governance need action.
Mr Depledge added: “I see a management team with strong individual qualities and talents but with deep seated relationship issues. We must start a process to help solve those problems. The Board of Directors will want to ensure that any changes made will be in the best interests of the company as a whole.”
“I want Lothian Buses to retain the level of skills and expertise it needs through this period. My focus with the Executive Directors will be on effective succession planning to achieve a logical and realistic process of change. We want to have the right people in place to manage the business and we need to take account of changes as people retire or move on.”