Nick Buckles quits as G4S boss after Olympic 'shambles'

May 21, 2013

Man who presided over London Games security staffing fiasco steps down

NICK BUCKLES, boss of security giant G4S, is to step down at the end of this month after overseeing a staffing fiasco at last year's London Olympics.

Profits at the company slumped by a third last year after it bungled the amount of security needed at the Games, forcing the army to step in. Buckles later told the Commons' Home Affairs select committee that the contract was a "humiliating shambles" and his firm's reputation was in "tatters". The debacle cost G4S £70 million.

Although Buckles was largely exonerated by a report into the affair carried out by consultants PwC, pressure intensified on him after a poor trading update led G4S's share price to fall by 13 per cent in one day earlier this month. Investor confidence had also been hit by Buckles's bungled bid to launch a £5.2bn takeover of Danish cleaning company ISS in 2011.

The departure comes two weeks before G4S's annual shareholder meeting. Buckles will be replaced by the firm's chief financial officer Ashley Almanza, the BBC notes.  

Analysts at Jefferies said although Almanza's elevation to CEO was not surprising, the pace is "much quicker than expected". They told the Daily Telegraph: "Ashley has only been in the CFO role for six weeks and we thought a year might pass before an orderly transition was unveiled. We suspect the accelerated timeline may have been driven by shareholder reaction to the recent disappointing profit warning."

G4S chairman John Connolly said Buckles had made a "massive contribution to the group over a 28-year career", adding: "On behalf of the board and everyone at G4S, I thank Nick and wish him the very best of luck for the future."

Shares in the company rose almost 2 per cent to  255.8p in early-morning trading.

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