views

BA trustees stick by boss in pension row

THE trustees of British Airways&rsquo; pension scheme have stood by chairman Roger Maynard amid further calls for him to resign and be replaced by an independent figure.<br /><br />A spokesman said the trustees were satisfied there was no conflict of interest in Maynard&rsquo;s roles as director of investments at BA, director of Spanish carrier Iberia and chairman of both BA&rsquo;s retirement funds.<br /><br />BA and Iberia are in the process of sealing a &pound;4.4bn merger. The magnitude of BA&rsquo;s liabilities servicing its pension deficit, thought to be &pound;3bn-&pound;4bn, could derail the deal unless upcoming negotiations with the trustees are successful.<br /><br />The Occupational Pensioners&rsquo; Alliance, which represents more than two million workers from a range of industries, yesterday added its voice to calls for Maynard to step down.<br /><br />Executive officer Roger Turner said it &ldquo;almost beggars belief&rdquo; that Maynard could stay at the helm of BA&rsquo;s pension scheme at a time of sensitive negotiations between the board and trustees.<br /><br />Turner said: &ldquo;There is an absolute need for an independent chairman. It&rsquo;s the perception that&rsquo;s important. We have got a person who is also a director of BA and Iberia. How can he not be conflicted?&rdquo;<br /><br />On Tuesday City A.M. revealed the Association of British Airways Pensioners (ABAP) had written to the Pensions Regulator to raise the issue.<br /><br />Dayne Markham, chairman of the ABAP, said Maynard&rsquo;s position was &ldquo;like being Prime Minister and leader of the opposition at the same time&rdquo;.<br /><br />The trustees&rsquo; spokesman said: &ldquo;We are confident the arrangements in place to manage any potential conflict of interest are effective and appropriate in the circumstances.&rdquo;<br /><br />BA said: &ldquo;On the basis of legal advice and the fact Roger played no part in the pension provisions outlined in the understanding signed with Iberia, we are confident there has been no conflict of interests.&rdquo;<br />