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Old June 16th 17, 12:10 AM posted to
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Default FirstGroup safety bonuses withheld after Croydon tram crash

The chief executive of Firstgroup has had his £723,415 annual bonus
withheld because of the Croydon tram crash in which seven people died and
58 were injured.

In its annual report, published yesterday, the company told shareholders
that it would not be appropriate for Tim O’Toole, 61, to get the cash and
shares that he would otherwise have been due.

The former boss of London Underground, who received a bonus of £162,000
last year, is said to have been in favour of the decision.

Imelda Walsh, chairwoman of the transport company’s remuneration committee,
said there had been a tragic loss of life and multiple injuries after
November’s crash. “In view of this and despite the strong financial results
and year-on-year improvements across other measures, the chief executive
will not be paid a bonus this year,” she said.

However, Mr O’Toole is to be granted an award of deferred shares, expected
to be worth a similar amount to the withheld bonus payout, that will not
vest until after 2020 and which are also subject to the outcome of
investigations into the tram incident.

Ms Walsh said: “The committee consulted with the company’s major
shareholders on this matter and believes that this approach recognises not
only the severity of the incident but also that the various investigations
may be ongoing for some considerable time.”

All other senior executives have had the safety element of their bonus
reduced to zero for the year.

The annual report showed Mr O’Toole received £1.26 million for the 12
months to March 31, up slightly from the £1.24 million he received in the
prior financial year mainly because of a payout that he received under a
long-term incentive scheme.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch has found that the tram was
travelling at about 43mph before it derailed and crashed in a 12mph zone
near the Sandilands Junction area of Croydon.

The investigators suggested a brake had been applied two and a half seconds
before the crash at 6.07am on November 9, which may mean the driver had
“lost awareness” that he was coming into a reduced speed limit area.

There was no evidence of track defects or obstructions.

Jim Winestock, the chairman of Firstgroup’s safety committee, said: “It is
absolutely essential that we learn the lessons that emerge; all relevant
recommendations from the investigations will be implemented.”

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