Ferguson Marine finance boss has quit amid backlash at ‘reprehensible’ bonus payments
Chief financial officer George Crookston, who picked up £17,500 in ‘performance-related’ bonus cash, is the only one of six bosses to be identified so far.
One of the Ferguson Marine bosses who received thousands of pounds in bonus payments has left the troubled shipyard, it has emerged today.
Chief financial officer George Crookston departed the nationalised Port Glasgow firm in February after being appointed in March 2020 and handing in his notice in November 2022.
He received incentive payments as part of the controversial bonus scheme of around £17,500 in 2021/22, according to a report in the Herald. This was on top of his £122,500 salary and £6500 in pension benefits.
Mr Crookston, who is also no longer a member of the Ferguson Marine board, is said to have taken on a job as chief financial officer with the Scottish Fishermen’s Organisation.
Concerns that more than £87,000 bonus payments were paid to six senior managers were raised in a new report by public spending watchdog Audit Scotland.
Auditor General Stephen Boyle said it was “unacceptable” that the payments had not been cleared by the Scottish Government, while Deputy First Minister John Swinney described the situation as “reprehensible”.
Two lifeline ferries – Glen Sannox and Hull 802 – are still unfinished at the Inverclyde yard five years after they were due to enter service. The ferries were originally scheduled to cost £97million but that figure has ballooned to almost £300m.
The yard was owned by tycoon Jim McColl when the contracts were signed in 2015 but four years later it had to be bailed out by the taxpayer.
Bosses last week announced yet another delay due to “persistent design gaps and build errors”, with Glen Sannox now scheduled for completion in autumn 2023. However, there is a “contract backstop” of no later than December 31, 2023.
Hull 802 was pushed back until autumn 2024 with a backstop at the end of the year, although there are serious doubts as to whether this second vessel will ever be completed.
Ferguson Marine would only say that Mr Crookston “tendered his resignation in November 2022 and left in February 2023”.
‘National disgrace that will forever taint the SNP’
But Scottish Conservative shadow transport minister Graham Simpson MSP didn’t hold back in his furious response and said: “There seems no end to the secrecy and incompetence surrounding the SNP’s ferries scandal.
“It was a sick joke for Scotland’s betrayed island communities when they learned this week that bosses at Ferguson Marine were awarded bonuses.
“Now we discover that the chief financial officer – who was one of those ‘rewarded’ for his part in a contract that’s six years late and three-and-a-half times over budget – has snuck out the back door.
“This whole fiasco is a national disgrace that will forever taint Nicola Sturgeon and her SNP government.”
Now the laughing has had to cease – the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney.