Richard Branson called foul when his company Virgin Trains lost the franchise recently for the West Coast Main Line services from Scotland to London. His reaction was justified when the Department of Transport was forced to admit there had been flaws in the bidding process
Virgin Trains has run the West Coast Main Line since 1997. When it recently lost its bid to renew the contract to rival operator FirstGroup, it claimed the evaluation was flawed, called for a review, and started court proceedings over the government’s decision.
Flaws in the risk assessment
On 3rd October 2012, Government ministers announced that there were “significant technical flaws” in the way the risks for each bid were calculated, justified the legal case that Branson had brought against the decision.
Charismatic leadership is not quite dead
LWD has been cataloguing examples of the dark side of leadership and the retreat of the status of charismatic leaders. Richard Branson continues to stand as a contrary example through inspirational and dynamic efforts. When tested after a rare rail accident in February 2007 which left one passenger dead and several dozen injured, he acted decisively, effectively and with empathy for those affected.
To be continued
To Susan Moger for her rapid response in reporting this breaking news to LWD.