Board appointments for Lothian and Edinburgh Council in the clear

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New board appointments for Lothian Buses follow Edinburgh Council being cleared of wrongdoing in row

The Nominations Committee of Transport for Edinburgh has recommended the appointment of Jim McFarlane as Chairman of Lothian Buses. Jim, who will also join the Transport for Edinburgh Board, joined the company in March on an interim basis as General Manager and is expected to be formally appointed at a meeting of the City of Edinburgh Council on May 28.

He will be joined by Susan Deacon, Tony Rose, Mark Yexley and Charlene Wallace as Non-executive Directors on the board of Lothian Buses. It is also proposed to extend the appointment of Donald MacLeod, one of the existing Lothian Buses Non-executive Directors for a further two years.

As part of the changes, it has also been proposed that non-executive directors are included on the board of Edinburgh Trams for the first time, allowing the board to benefit from external experience.

If this is approved, Charles Monheim will be appointed as Chairman of Edinburgh Trams, with Charlene Wallace and Andy Neal as additional non-executive members.

This news comes after The Herald Scotland reported that Edinburgh City Council was cleared in an investigation over its handling of a row among directors at Lothian Buses.

A KPMG report said the council acted within proper procedure after the authority acted when its bus firm executives became embroiled in a public row related to leadership.

Council Leader Andrew Burns said: “KPMG’s independent report provides a comprehensive analysis of events, demonstrating that the council, as majority shareholder, acted consistently and in accordance with the proper governance procedures set out in the shareholder agreement relating to Lothian Buses.”

The review examined whether Transport Convener Lesley Hinds should have stepped in: “We also examined the facts surrounding the request to appoint the transport convenor to the board of Lothian Buses shortly after the resignation of the chairperson of Lothian Buses.

“We note that a request was made for the transport convenor to be appointed on a temporary basis, period not exceeding three months, to the board of Lothian Buses at a board meeting, but this request was withdrawn at the same meeting when it was highlighted by the Senior Independent Non-Executive Director that this appointment could lead to a conflict of interest under the terms of the Transport Act.

“The Transport Convenor was then admitted to the board as an observer which is allowable. It could be argued that, under the terms of the Shareholder Agreement, the council should have had no involvement whatsoever in the grievance process which Lothian Buses followed, other than responding to a formal request for consent from the former Chairman. However, we consider that this was unrealistic in the circumstances, given the seriousness of the issue.”