Yesterday, after the markets had closed, G4S announced that its UK CEO Richard Morris had resigned. As he had been in the job for less than a year, this does raise some serious questions.
The G4S board has been less than impressive in its performance, going all the way back to the firm’s mishandled security coverage of the London 2012 Olympics. Only through the intervention of the government and the assistance of the UK military was a major calamity avoided. This debacle saw previous CEO David Taylor-Smith leave the firm, to be replaced by Mr Morris.
The next embarrassment to impact the firm was the discovery that its main rival, Serco, had been charging the government for security-tagging criminals who were already in prison or dead. Others had not even been tagged. The government’s consequent lack of trust for the two companies prompted it to launch an investigation by the Serious Fraud Squad. As the government is G4S’s largest customer, a frosty relationship will not help.
The new man taking the helm should know what he is getting himself into, as he is the current COO Eddie Ashton. A promotion from within should ensure limited disruption to the running of the firm, but I can’t help wondering if some fresh impetus from an outsider might not have been a better idea. Time will obviously tell.