Nick Buckles, the beleaguered chief executive of G4S, will be cross-examined by MPs today over the Olympics security fiasco. He faces a daunting challenge to hold on to his post.
Mr Buckles is expected to remain in the job until after the Olympic Games – but then bow out to allow the security giant to rebuild its shattered reputation.
G4S has seen more than £400m wiped off its market value in recent days as the questions have piled up over how it could have so miscalculated the logistics of protecting the world's biggest sporting event. Mr Buckles can expect a tough time when he appears before the Commons home affairs select committee today – not least because he has described his leadership style as "no excuses please".
For the first time he will detail exactly when the company knew it would not be able to deliver on its bold promises – and when it raised the alarm with ministers.
The Olympics saga is his second recent setback: last year G4S faced embarrassment and heavy costs when its £5.2bn plan to take over the cleaning giant ISS fell through.
Mr Buckles – the Essex-born son of a policeman and a dinner lady – entered the security business 25 years ago only because Securicor offered him a Ford Escort to go with a trainee post.
He worked his way up to the role of chief executive by 2002, then led Securicor's merger with Group 4 Falck in 2004 and became G4S's chief executive the year after.
Now he earns £1.2m a year as the head of the international giant, which has operations in 125 countries and more than 650,000 employees.
He said this week that he was worth his pay package "99 per cent of the time", but asked whether he would get a bonus this year, replied: "It doesn't look like it, does it?"
As well as leading G4S, Mr Buckles is the current chairman of the Ligue Internationale des Societes de Surveillance, which describes itself on its website as "an association of private security organisations throughout the free world".
Mr Buckles, 51, who says his business hero was Margaret Thatcher and has called on the Conservatives to focus on traditional Tory values, is an avid runner, regularly competing in the London marathon.
He played amateur football to a high standard in his younger days and is a keen West Ham fan.
Mr Buckles, who names his favourite possession as his mobile phone, has admitted: "I can't say I have ever read a book."
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies