Former Crossrail boss in bonus review row

Construction Manager reports that former Crossrail chief executive Andrew Wolstenholme asked for a decision to withhold part of his bonus pay to be reviewed, shortly before it emerged that the project was running behind schedule.

The London Assembly’s Transport Committee report Derailed: Getting Crossrail back on track, said that Wolstenholme and fellow directors Simon Wright and Matthew Duncan were denied their respective Long Term Incentive Plan (LTIP) performance bonuses in 2018 on the basis that they had not met their targets.

The executives "reluctantly accepted" the decision but Wolstenholme wrote a letter to Crossrail’s remuneration committee requesting a review of the decision.

Criticising the move, the report said: "This attitude is symptomatic of a culture that, while encouraging unchecked optimism, has also encouraged a denial of responsibility."

Wolstenholme received £463,000 in salary and a further £481,000 in performance-related pay in 2017-17, according to figures in the report. That was followed by £477,000 in salary and £160,000 in performance-related pay in 2016-17.

He left his role as chief executive of Crossrail in March 2018 after seven years. At the time, former chairman Sir Terry Morgan thanked him for his contribution and said he left the team "well placed to finish the remaining construction activity… ahead of the opening of the Elizabeth Line", which was scheduled for December 2018. Wolstenholme subsequently took up a role as a non-executive director of HS2.

However, in August 2019, it was announced that the project would not be ready and its opening was pushed back by nine months. Reports now suggest that it won’t open until 2021 and it is now running £2.8bn over budget.

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  1. It’s very disappointing to pay large salaries for failure but this seems to happen on large projects that are not managed from the top down. Project delays are a fact of life but the devil is in the detail and communication with in the top team seems to been lacking.

  2. Where were the TfL Board throughout all this? They were appointed by Mayor Khan after his election in May 2016. Under his chairmanship since then, not sometime in 2018, if they’re not the ‘oversight and scrutiny of last resort’ for a TfL project then who is?

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