16 May 2002
Statement by Mr James Blake, Senior Director, Capital Projects
I have listened to my Chairman and my Chief Executive Officer, and accept without hesitation the substance of their remarks.
The shortcomings identified by Ernst and Young indicate errors of judgement on my part, and on the part of my colleagues in West Rail Division. We should have brought out to the Managing Board earlier the fact that the contractor’s performance was going wrong, and consulted them on various remedial measures. Secondly, specifically in the case of the Siemens contract, I and my West Rail Division colleagues tried very hard to deal with Siemens in achieving delay recovery. We believed that we could solve the problem on our own under the contract, but events have shown that we failed. For this I take responsibility.
The result has been that the Managing Board felt that the proposal to enter into negotiations and the proposal to effect a supplemental agreement with Siemens left them with little choice. I admit we could have done better, and I apologise for our errors of judgment.
I must emphasise that we were only trying to do our best. Our actions reflect no attempt at concealment or wrongdoing. We genuinely believed, and still believe, that we were acting in the best interests of the Corporation. The report confirms this.
I look forward to working more closely with the Managing Board and its committees, in presenting summary and exception reports to members. We will of course also continue to work at resolving problems, as they arise.
I shall now pass on to Mr Thoms for any comments he would wish to make.