Nick Buckles has unexpectedly stepped down as chief executive officer (CEO) of security firm G4S, which attracted unfavourable publicity last summer when it was unable to provide sufficient manpower to fulfil its contract for providing trained guards to patrol the London Olympics.
Buckles will be succeeded by the company’s chief financial officer (CFO), Ashley Almanza, who only joined G4S three weeks ago. The CEO’s sudden departure takes place two weeks before G4S’s annual meeting, at which he faced criticism from investors over the company’s recent performance. Buckles was facing re-election to the board at the meeting.
Almanza only took up his responsibilities at G4S at the start of this month. But the company said that it had deliberately sought candidates “with the experience and capabilities” to take on the position of CEO, as part of its “succession planning processes”.
Prior to joining G4S, Almanza held several senior executive roles at oil and gas explorer BG Group, including CFO and executive vice president (EVP). In the latter role he was accountable, during 2009 and 2010, for the strategic and operational management of BG Group’s UK, European and Central Asian businesses.
Almanza is also a non-executive director of Schroders and Noble Corp., and a member of the Advisory Board of Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
Stuart Curl, G4S’s regional CFO for the UK, Ireland and Africa, has been appointed acting CFO, while search for a new CFO is conducted.
G4S also announced that Eddie Aston, currently CEO of logistics group DHL, will join the company on 8 July to take up the new role of chief operating officer (COO). The creation of this senior role is one of the actions taken by the company following a review by the board of the Olympics contract.
Buckles had previously appeared to have survived pressure following criticism directed at the time of last summer’s London Olympics. He admitted to members of parliament (MPs) that the contract had turned into “a humiliating shambles”, but had rejected calls to resign. The episode cost the company £88m, reducing annual profits by a third.
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