Senior G4S executives resign over Olympics security failure

But board decides chief executive Nick Buckles should keep his job in ‘best interest of company and all its stakeholders’

G4S’s chief operating officer David Taylor-Smith has resigned but chief executive Nick Buckles keeps his job. Photograph: PA

Two senior executives at G4S have resigned over the company’s failure to deliver its contract for the London 2012 Olympics, but chief executive Nick Buckles has kept his job.

David Taylor-Smith, chief operating officer, and Ian Horseman-Sewell, managing director for G4S Global Events, are stepping down following the firm’s failure to meet its Olympics commitments. The G4S board, though, has concluded Buckles should stay on “in the best interest of the company and all of its stakeholders”.

Taylor-Smith and Horseman-Sewell are leaving following an inquiry into the Olympics debacle by PricewaterhouseCoopers. It found G4S had failed to strengthen its management and its “structures and processes” to handle the “unique and complex” task of delivering more than 10,000 trained guards to protect Olympic venues.

G4S summarised PwC’s conclusions in a statement to the stock market on Friday morning. It said: “The company has management and other structures and processes that have proved highly effective in delivering the company’s regular business over many years but it did not recognise these structures and processes needed augmenting for the Olympic contract.

“The monitoring and tracking of the security workforce, management information and the project management framework and practices were ineffective to address the scale, complexities and dependencies of the Olympic contract. Together this caused the failure of the company to deliver the contract requirements in full and resulted in the identification of the key problems at a very late stage.”

G4S’s failure meant the British army was called in to provide security during the Olympics fortnight.

The G4S chairman, John Connolly, said the company admitted it had not delivered. He said: “G4S has accepted responsibility for its failure to deliver fully on the Olympic contract. We apologise for this and we thank the military and the police for the vital roles they played in ensuring the delivery of a safe and secure Games.”

Buckles faced heavy criticism when he appeared before the home affairs committee in July, where David Winnick MP told him the company’s reputation was in tatters.

The G4S board, though, has concluded that Buckles should not lose his job.

“Whilst the chief executive has ultimate responsibility for the company’s performance, the review did not identify significant shortcomings in his performance or serious failings attributable to him in connection with the Olympic contract,” it said.

Graeme Wearden
guardian.co.uk, Friday 28 September 2012 08.08 BST

Find this story at 28 September 2012
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