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Major leadership changes at Stagecoach leaves only one woman on the board

Lianna Brinded
Head of Yahoo Finance UK
Stagecoach bus. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images

Bus operator Stagecoach (SGC.L) has unveiled a number of changes to its leadership team — leaving only one woman on its board of directors.

Stagecoach also reported a 9% fall in first-half profit, for the six months ended 26 October, blaming poor weather for the drag on earnings at its bus division. Adjusted pretax profit was at £66.6m ($85.45m), compared with £73.1m a year earlier.

In a separate statement to its interim results, it announced that chairman Sir Brian Souter will step down on 31 December and be replaced by Ray O'Toole, who is currently a non-executive director. Souter will now become a non-executive director at the group.

Meanwhile, Souter's sister, Dame Ann Gloag and Sir Ewan Brown will both retire and step down as non-executive directors.

"At the age of 65, the time is right for me to step down as Stagecoach Chairman to spend time on my other interests and with my family, including my three young grandchildren,” said Souter.

"My family and I continue to have a significant shareholding in Stagecoach and I have every confidence in the management team, our strategy and the positive prospects of the business. I look forward to continuing to represent the interests of stakeholders as a non-executive director on the board."

Recently, deputy chairman and senior independent director, Will Whitehorn, said he will step down from the board on 30 June 2020. The role of deputy chairman will be discontinued. However, Gregor Alexander will succeed Will Whitehorn from 1 July 2020 as the senior independent director after serving as non-executive director.

The personnel changes mean only one director on its eight-person board is a woman — accounting for 12.5%.

The group said in a statement: “In addition, the Directors remain firmly committed to promoting diversity within the Board, including in respect of age, gender or educational and professional backgrounds. The Board acknowledges that, immediately following the planned changes, only one of its directors will be female.

“Over many years, the Board and our Company more widely has benefitted from highly skilled and experienced female directors and executives. Consistent with our previously set long-term aspiration for female representation on the Board of at least 25%, we will look to address this area as part of Board succession planning.”