Interview: FirstGroup’s Matthew Gregory | Business – The Times


Bosses of the transport giant FirstGroup have a diminishing shelf life. The rail and bus operator’s founder, Sir Moir Lockhead, lasted 21 years; his successor, Tim O’Toole, had almost eight.

At this rate, Matthew Gregory could spend just seven months in the chief executive’s chair. In about a fortnight, Gregory will face shareholders in a London hotel for a vote that could see him become a statistical anomaly. An activist, the little-known New York hedge fund Coast Capital, has called a meeting on June 25 to propose kicking him and five other directors off the board.

Coast, a 10% shareholder, has branded Gregory “extraordinarily underqualified” and claims he was promoted from finance director in November last year only because his chairman, Wolfhart Hauser, could not…