Insufficient detail on delays to overdue ferries, says economy secretary

David Tydeman was sacked earlier this week as CEO of Ferguson Marine.

Insufficient detail on delays to Ferguson Marine overdue ferries, says economy secretary PA Media

A cabinet secretary has said she does not have sufficient detail to update MSPs on further potential delays to the overdue ferries at Ferguson Marine, after the shipyard’s CEO was sacked earlier this week.

Wellbeing Economy Secretary Mairi McAllan told Holyrood that David Tydeman’s sacking was a matter for the state-owned shipyard’s board, and they had been considering addressing “performance-related issues” since February.

The SNP minister sought to reassure MSPs on the expertise of John Petticrew, who replaces Mr Tydeman as interim chief executive and will oversee the remaining work on Glen Sannox and its sister ship Glen Rosa.

She said she understood islanders’ frustration around ferry delays as CalMac’s existing fleet comes under pressure and vowed to leave “no stone unturned” to secure a future for the yard.

On Tuesday, it emerged that Mr Tydeman had been sacked by the Ferguson Marine board after intimating that further delays to the handover of the Glen Sannox were “likely”.

He had earlier said the vessel would be handed over in late May but it seems this deadline can no longer be met.

Ferguson Marine CEO David Tydeman was sacked this week.STV News

Ms McAllan answered an urgent question on the matter in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday.

The SNP minister said: “The islanders are uppermost in my mind, and that’s why I’ve been very clear that delays are entirely unacceptable.”

She said she had been informed in February that the board were considering taking action to address “performance-related issues in relation to Mr Tydeman’s tenure” and they decided on a contract termination on March 18.

Discussing the delays and cost overruns for the two ferries, she continued: “I do not have sufficient information in order to update parliament with the specificity that I would want to bring to the chamber.

“I was formally notified on Monday of potential delays – potential delays crystallising – but the new executive team and the board will now interrogate those.”

On whether Mr Tydeman received a payoff, she said he was entitled to “contractual payments”.

Pressed on how the yard could secure future work, she said: “I have been clear that ministers will leave no stone unturned when it comes to securing a sustainable, successful future for Ferguson Marine.”

The Conservatives’ Graham Simpson said Mr Tydeman had been given an “impossible job” and suggested he had been sacked for being “too honest” about problems at the yard.

He said Ms McAllan must have approved his dismissal, saying “the buck stops with her”.

Following the session at Holyrood, Mr Simpson said: “Islanders who have been betrayed at every turn got no answers from the cabinet secretary.

The Conservatives’ Graham Simpson said Mr Tydeman had been given an “impossible job”. Photo: Peter Summers/Getty ImagesGetty Images

“There were no answers on performance issues surrounding David Tydeman, and she shed no light on any further delays and additional costs for these lifeline services which have come to light.

“Huge questions remain unanswered over the sacking of Ferguson Marine’s latest turnaround director and Mairi McAllan cannot continue to deflect responsibility on to the board at the yard.”

The two ferries, which will ultimately serve routes in the West of Scotland with CalMac, are some six years late and will cost around three times the original price of £97m.

Earlier, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said those in charge of the shipyard should not be rewarded for “failure”.

On reports that Mr Tydeman may receive a large payoff despite being sacked, Mr Sarwar told the PA news agency: “We’ve seen this game before around Ferguson’s.

“People should be getting rewarded for good outcomes, and delivering on the government’s promises and delivering on the commitments they have made to the local communities, particularly those communities in our rural, remote areas who rely on these ferry services.

“People should not be getting huge payoffs for failure.”

Ferguson Marine have not directly confirmed how much money Mr Tydeman will get in a payoff but he received an annual salary of £205,000 plus bonuses.

Board chairman Andrew Miller said on Tuesday: “Ferguson Marine needs strong leadership to ensure its long-term future.

“The board recognised that action needed to be taken to restructure the current leadership team and it has taken these steps to address this.

“Our focus is on the completion of Glen Sannox and hull 802 (Glen Rosa), and the implementation of a robust business plan to improve the commercial viability of Ferguson Marine.”

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