David Prosser: The chief executive who set an example


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The Independent Online

Outlook It is easy enough to throw mud at fat-cat executives who desert a sinking ship with generouspay-offs – and goodness knows there have been enough of them over the past couple of years – so we should be gracious on the odd occasion when someone does the right thing. Step forward Jamie Buchan, chief executive of Southern Cross.

Mr Buchan has his critics, who complain that he should have been savvier in his negotiations with the nursing home operator's landlords, or improved the quality of its services sufficiently to drive up its occupancy rates to levels that would have eased Southern Cross's financial woes. What one can't do, however, is blame him for the disastrous sale-and-leaseback business model, which Mr Buchan inherited.

It is clear that Mr Buchan could have left Southern Cross back in June, taking a generous severance payment and avoiding a depressing summer organising an orderly wind-up of the company. Good for him for not doing so – it is an example that plenty of other executives at the top of British business ought to follow.