View from City Road: King's troubles far from over

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The Independent Online
RESIGNATION is not Lord King's style. As chairman of British Airways he may have been forced to apologise to Virgin but it is hard to imagine him announcing plans to step down early at Friday's board meeting.

It is also unlikely that his fellow directors will be brave enough to force him to resign, though they should.

Assuming he gets through the board meeting - there will presumably have to be a more junior scapegoat - that will not be the end of the affair. Lord King's troubles will be far from over.

Apart from growing interest in the company's dirty tricks campaign from a raft of regulators on both sides of the Atlantic, Lord King and Sir Colin Marshall, the chief executive, face criticism from shareholders and from organisations to which they belong.

Though often dismissed as little more than a smart dining club, the Institute of Directors is taking an increasingly firm approach to corporate governance. Indeed, it takes a harsher line on combining the roles of chairman and chief executive than did the Cadbury committee, which simply said there should be a clearly accepted division of responsibilities at the head of a company.

Sir Colin, who was expected to become chairman and chief executive on Lord King's retirement, could find it particularly embarrassing if, as expected , the IoD makes public its criticisms of the dirty tricks saga. Sir Colin is on the IoD council.

It looks increasingly unlikely that Sir Colin will become chairman of BA. But it remains to be seen who will replace Lord King. While his successor might be one of the existing non-executive directors, it would be preferable if someone untainted was brought in from outside.