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by Ruaraidh Gilmour
03 April 2024
CalMac boss steps down following ‘leadership review’

CalMac ferry | Alamy

CalMac boss steps down following ‘leadership review’

Robbie Drummond has stepped down as the chief executive of CalMac.  

The UK’s largest ferry operator said the move followed a review of its executive leadership as it faces “challenging years ahead”.  

The publicly owned company has experienced problems caused by breakdowns which have affected vessels in its ageing fleet in the last few years, while it experiences delays to new ferries.  

It comes a week after the chief executive of Ferguson Marine, David Tydeman, was sacked. The Port Glasgow yard, which was taken into public ownership in December 2019, is home to the two delayed and over-budget CalMac ferries Glen Sannox and Glen Rosa.  

Duncan Mackison has been named as interim chief executive of CalMac following Drummond’s departure.  

The ferry operator said that island communities have faced “real challenges” relating to its service.  

A spokesperson for Calmac said: “The Caledonian MacBrayne Ltd board takes the responsibility of delivering the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service (CHFS) contract extremely seriously.

“It recognises that the island communities served by CalMac have faced real challenges over this past year. These challenges are likely set to continue until new vessels are introduced to the fleet over the coming years.

“In this context, the board wants to strengthen the focus further on operational performance of an ageing fleet, resilience and enhanced dialogue and responsiveness with the customers and the communities CalMac serves.

“As a consequence, the board has reviewed the executive leadership of the organisation to ensure that it is best placed to achieve that during some challenging years ahead.

“As part of that review, current CEO Robbie Drummond is stepping down with immediate effect.”

Scottish Labour transport spokesperson Alex Rowley said “The chaos on CalMac services is a direct result of the SNP’s woeful mismanagement of Scotland’s ferry fleet.

“No matter who is in the top job in CalMac, islanders will continue to be let down until the SNP government starts delivering the ferries we need.

“These lifeline services are central to the local economies of island communities and act as a link friends, family, work and healthcare.

“We need a real ferry replacement programme to boost resilience across the CalMac network and end the turmoil in these lifeline services.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat economy spokesperson Willie Rennie said: “Another week, another resignation but still no SNP minister is carrying the can for the ferry chaos.

“CalMac have had to cope with an ageing fleet and delayed new ferries thanks to the SNP Government."

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