National Express chief quits after five months
Wednesday 15 January 1997
In a statement National Express said Mr Patterson, who joined in August after serving as a director of the BET conglomerate until its takeover by Rentokil last year, had relinquished his role as chief executive by "mutual agreement" with immediate effect.
But sources close to the company acknowledged that Mr Patterson's appointment had been a mistake. "Both sides felt it wasn't the right company for him," said one. "There were big cultural differences between BET and National Express."
Colin Child, finance director, said both parties agreed that Mr Patterson "was not suited to National Express and National Express was not suited to him". But Mr Child stressed: "There was no dispute at all; no fight or debate or difference of opinion on commercial or strategic issues at all."
Nevertheless, the resignation took insiders at the company and the stock market by surprise. "There was no hint of this," said a senior manager just below board level.
Shares in National Express were as low as 526.5p at one stage, but they recovered to close 3.5p lower at 540.5p in a rising stock market.
Mr Patterson, who has been replaced by Phil White, formerly director of the West Midlands Travel unit, was on a one-year contract which will be honoured in full. The size of his pay-off remains unclear because details of his salary were never made public. His predecessor, Ray McEnhill, was paid pounds 411,000 in 1995, up from pounds 327,000 in the previous year.
Mr Child said that "cultural style differences" had emerged between Mr Patterson and National Express. "The style and approach of a big group with a smaller, rapidly growing group is very different," he said.
National Express had a more devolved management structure than Mr Patterson was used to, Mr Child said.
Mr Patterson had been responsible for BET's world-wide transport interests, including road tankers, containers, warehousing and distribution.
Analysts believed his appointment heralded a subtle shift in focus away from the UK, where buying opportunities in the core bus and coach market were becoming increasingly hard to come by.
Instead Mr Patterson committed National Express to bidding for all 12 remaining rail franchises after landing the Gatwick Express and Midland Main Line licences. National Express is also interested in buying the Welcome Break motorway service stations from Granada, the media and leisure conglomerate. The coach group also owns East Midlands airport and is seeking links with airlines to provide dedicated airport services.
Mr White joined West Midlands Travel in 1994 and became a director of National Express in January 1996. He will continue to have day-to-day responsibility for WMT until the appointment of a new managing director at WMT.
In an update on trading,Michael Davies, the chairman, said: "Although the 1996 financial results are not yet available I can confirm that based on our latest estimates the group has traded well across all its divisions in the second half of 1996 and looks forward to 1997 with confidence."
The group remained committed to the expansion and development of its businesses and to acquisitions in existing and related areas, he said.
- 1 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for beauty pageant
- 3 Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'
'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
West poised to join forces with Assad in face of Islamic State
Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £27000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst - (Active Di...
£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...
£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...