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
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Swiss Banking and Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - 6 month FTC - Central London

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...

Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application) - Agile

£215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...

Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power