Peace talks to heal rift between transport bosses

Fellow directors made complaints about Ian Craig's management style. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Fellow directors made complaints about Ian Craig's management style. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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Peace talks to heal a rift between directors at Edinburgh’s public transport system will be held next week after complaints were filed against the firm’s top boss.

Mediators are being drafted in to repair working relationships at the head of Transport for Edinburgh after an investigation was launched into the conduct of £270,000-a-year chief executive Ian Craig amid complaints about his management style.

The News revealed yesterday how three fellow directors at Lothian Buses – operations director Bill Campbell, engineering director Bill Devlin, and finance director Norman Strachan – lodged grievances about Mr Craig’s alleged abrasive manner and his failure to consult them on key decisions.

Mr Craig was later cleared of any wrongdoing.

Today, it has also emerged that the trio, who made a formal complaint, failed to attend a key board meeting for Transport for Edinburgh – the umbrella body for the city’s buses and trams – that took place on Friday.

The Evening News understands transport leader Cllr Lesley Hinds – the chairwoman of Transport for Edinburgh – is “very disappointed” the three men, who were each paid £190,000 in 2012, did not attend. It has also emerged that all four directors involved in the dispute have withdrawn from a Lothian Buses awards dinner which they were due to attend.

One insider said that given the huge pay packets awarded to the directors they should be able to “sort out their differences and get back to doing their jobs”. Another source said: “This is playground behaviour when they should be focusing on running the transport service.”

Reacting to the yesterday’s News report, Lothian Buses chairwoman Ann Faulds published a statement on the firm’s website which said there had been “certain difficulties and tensions at management level”. “These concerns are being addressed and arrangements are in place to discuss a solution which is in the best interests of Lothian Buses,” she added.

Tory councillor Jason Rust, who raised Mr Craig’s investigation at Thursday’s full council meeting, said the situation was now “totally out of hand”.

“We need to know how an award-winning company has got to this stage,” he said. “Who is in charge as this infighting continues and for how long have senior administration councillors known?”

Transport for Edinburgh said: “The Transport for Edinburgh board meeting was quorate and went ahead in accordance with the agenda.”