FirstGroup chief to step down after battle with activist investor

FirstGroup PLC updates

FirstGroup’s chief govt Matthew Gregory will step down after an activist investor waged a marketing campaign towards the sale of the transport group’s North American belongings and renewed requires a management change on the firm.

New York-based Coast Capital Management mentioned that FirstGroup’s administration had bungled a £3.3bn deal to promote its FirstStudent and FirstTransit companies to Swedish non-public fairness group EQT, considerably undervaluing the enterprise by promoting it throughout the pandemic. The deal was ultimately approved by shareholders in May regardless of Coast’s objections.

The chief govt and various different board members survived a marketing campaign in 2019 by the activist investor to oust them however Coast Capital, which has a 14 per cent stake in FirstGroup, reignited its requires Gregory to go away the corporate after the deal was introduced.

FirstGroup chair David Martin, a former chief govt of rival transport group Arriva, will exchange Gregory briefly from September till a everlasting successor is discovered.

Gregory, who took the highest place in 2018, mentioned: “Having delivered the substantial portfolio rationalisation strategy and with FirstGroup now positioned to emerge from the pandemic as a resilient and robust business, I have decided the time is right for me to move on to new opportunities.”

The administration change got here because the group introduced a statutory pre-tax revenue of £116m within the 12 months ending March, reversing final 12 months’s heavy losses.