Two G4S directors axed, but Buckles survives Olympic review

Two senior staff at private security firm G4S are leaving in the aftermath of the firm's fiasco, but CEO Nick Buckles isn't one of them.

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

David Taylor-Smith and Ian Horseman Sewell have today discovered a new use for the word ‘security’ – job security. The COO and MD respectively have resigned from the security firm after a review into its Olympic fiasco. In case you’d forgotten, the government had to draft in thousands of military personnel to cover for a shortfall in numbers by G4S, which came to light just a couple of weeks before the games were due to start. 

Amazingly, CEO Nick Buckles has managed to hold on to his hat despite massive public and political pressure for the firm to let his head roll. Earlier in the year he was grilled by MPs, and conceded that the whole affair had been a ‘humiliating shambles’. It’s fair to say that Buckles looked manifestly out of his depth during the select committee hearing, bumbling through answers and having to be rescued periodically by the more clued-up CFO who was sat next to him. Nonetheless, the review did ‘not identify any significant shortcomings in his performance’ during the screw-up. Except for his hair-do, maybe, but even that seems to have been shorn in penance in recent weeks...

In the review, the firm admitted that it had not appreciated the ‘scale and complexity’ of the contract, which was worth £284m and for which the firm was supposed to provide 10,000 security staff. The review also highlighted some changes it will make to how it handles contracts bigger than £50m from now on: more attention from the board of directors, for one thing. Perhaps if Buckles ever finds himself in the hotseat again, he’ll give the numbers a once over before engaging in a Q&A with angry MPs.

As a whole, the debacle has cost G4S £50m as well as a tonne of extra cash to foot the bill for the army’s last-minute involvement. Not to mention garnering global media coverage that showed the firm on less-than-impressive form… 

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