Victory for activist

Martin finally installed as FirstGroup chairman after deadline fiasco

FirstGroup bus

Bus company has new chairman

FirstGroup has announced that David Martin will join the transport group as chairman with immediate effect.

Mr Martin, the former chief executive of Arriva, had been the choice of activist investor Coast Capital to join FirstGroup’s board.

However, in June it was announced that he failed to meet a deadline seven days before a specially convened meeting to declare his willingness to do the job. The deadline passed on 18 June.

In today’s statement from Aberdeen-based FirstGroup no details were given of subsequent discussions leading to his appointment, apart from a comment from interim chairman David Robbie that the board had “considered the views of our shareholders.”

Mr Martin is currently a non-executive director at McGill’s Bus Service in Scotland and has confirmed that he will relinquish that role.

His career in the transport industry began in 1986. He was appointed to the board of Arriva in 1998 with specific responsibility for international development, before taking over the leadership of the company in 2006.

David Robbie, FirstGroup interim chairman and senior independent non-executive director said: “Having followed a rigorous and formal process, and considered the views of our shareholders, we have secured an extremely experienced, high calibre and independent candidate with an extensive track record in surface transportation.

“David is a strong leader with significant experience in business turnaround and performance improvement within the sector and more broadly. He has extensive knowledge of international transport contract businesses and in delivering strategic transactions, including disposals. His expertise and focus will be invaluable in driving forward the plans to rationalise the Group’s portfolio and create value for shareholders.”

Mr Martin said: “I am pleased to be joining FirstGroup at a key point in its development. Undoubtedly there are challenges which we must overcome, but I am confident in the opportunity that exists to unlock the considerable value within the group.

“By ensuring the timely delivery of the most effective and appropriate means of value creation, I look forward to playing a pivotal role in achieving a successful outcome in the interests of all stakeholders.”

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