Specialists who are called when the patient is critical

KEN SCOBIE: Born 1938, and educated at Daniel Stewart's College, Edinburgh. An accountant, he made his mark at Blackwood Hodge, the construction equipment group he joined in 1983 when it was suffering big losses. He reduced the debts and set the company on the path to expansion overseas.

He left two years ago after a boardroom dispute and replaced George Walker as chief executive of Brent Walker in July 1991, in the middle of refinancing talks. The completion of the refinancing was described by Brent Walker's chairman as 'little short of miraculous'. He has recently come under fire for awarding himself a pounds 150,000 bonus.

With Sir Lewis Robertson and others, Mr Scobie has set up Postern, a company specialising in corporate rescue. It aims to provide a flying squad of company doctors.

SIR IAN MacGREGOR: Born 1912 and educated at the University of Glasgow, he has an American mining background. He has been president of American Metal Co, chairman of British Steel 1980-83, chairman of the National Coal Board 1983-86. The great grandad of company doctors, he just won't stop working.

At BSC he made tens of thousands of steelworkers redundant, although he won respect for holding the line against cuts wanted by the Government. Sir Ian defeated Arthur Scargill in the miners' strike of 1984-5, and has since concentrated on rescues of smaller companies. In 1987 he joined David James in the rescue of North Sea Assets, an investment company, but left after a clash of personalities. His five years on the board of Mountleigh could not stop the property company crashing this year.

Ten days ago he was ousted as chairman of HunterPrint, where losses remained high. He is still chairman of Holmes Protection, which completed a debt restructuring last month.

SIR LEWIS ROBERTSON: Born 1922, educated at Glenalmond and Trinity College, trained as an accountant. Managing director Scott & Robertson 1965-70, chief executive Grampian Holdings 1971-76. Sir Lewis is one of the Great and the Good, on the boards of numerous Scottish charities and institutions.

In his first doctoring role he took over F H Lloyd in 1982, and closed plants to save it. The following year he became chairman of Triplex, which then took over Lloyd. He left Triplex Lloyd in 1990, when profits were a healthy pounds 12.2m. As chairman of Borthwicks (1985-89), he was much less successful. This troubled food group was four years into a supposed turnaround when he arrived. Despite disposals, he was unable to raise profits, and his last act in 1989 was a profits warning.

He helped the Scottish engineering company Lilley recover from a pounds 50m loss in 1986, and brought in Bob Rankin to take it on an expansionary path. But a failed bid for Tilbury left Lilley with a stake that had to be sold at a loss, and the recession has hit it hard. Sir Lewis is also having difficulties with Stakis, the hotels and casino group. He took over in 1991 and decided to concentrate on hotels and nursing homes but failed to find a buyer for the casinos. Stakis is soldiering on under pounds 200m of debt.

ROY BARBER: Born 1935, educated at Mexborough Grammar School, he was a Price Waterhouse accountant in Paris and The Hague, then made his name as financial director of Fairclough Construction, which became Amec. In 1986 he came to Aberdeen Construction and restructured it sufficiently to attract a pounds 61m bid from Raine Industries the following year. Brought in to save the conglomerate Thomas Robinson last summer, he sold its car dealerships and reorganised, and in January BM Group made a pounds 41m offer for the company.

At Astra Holdings, the fireworks and arms business caught up in the Iraqi Supergun affair and burdened by the bad acquisitions of BMARC and PRB, Mr Barber was brought in on pounds 2,000 a day. He called in the DTI - the first time a chairman asked for an investigation of his own company. He tried to force the vendor of one of the bad purchases (PRB) to repay the pounds 21.5m it had cost, and settled for pounds 3.3m. He claimed he made cost savings of pounds 10m a year, but Astra continued to lose money and went into receivership this February. Although unable to save the company, an institutional shareholder describes his performance as 'faultless'. He is considering two job offers.

(Photographs omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Adviser - OTE £24,500

£22500 - £24500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Inbound and outbound calls with...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £40,000

£18000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Insurance Bro...

Guru Careers: Research Associate / Asset Management Research Analyst

£40 - 45k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Research Associate / Research Anal...

The Green Recruitment Company: Graduate Energy Analyst

£20000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Summary: The Green Recruitm...

Day In a Page

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash