What has Avidor extrapolated from this morsel of information? Well, for one thing, the fact that they're hiring a CEO must indicate a shake up, right? Of course it must - there's no other reason a company would hire a CEO, especially an evil PRT company!
Well let's analyze ATS Ltd. They have spent the last several years in a research and development mode. During this time, the ULTra system has matured from immature prototype to fully developed, tested and safety approved transportation system. Martin Lowson, the current CEO, is a professor, researcher, and inventor. In other words, he was the perfect person to lead ATS during its research and development phase.
But these days, ATS is in transition. The first version of their product is essentially complete. Their primary focus is changing from R&D to operations and sales. Now that they have a product, they are looking to sell it and build it elsewhere.
Given this new company focus, is it any real surprise that they are looking for a new leader? Martin Lowson's talents are invention and innovation, not necessarily sales and operations. Why would he continue in the CEO role as the company moves further into an operational mode?
But such logic is far too reasonable for Ken Avidor. He sees it differently. The hiring of a new CEO can only indicate a "shake up" within ATS, much like Michele Bachmann twiddling her thumbs indicates her inner turmoil. This seems to be a new theme for Avidor: any movement by his opponents is automatically assumed to be a sign of suppressed turmoil.
It doesn't end there. Avidor then goes digging for dirt on ATS's board, and he finds it in the most unlikely of places. This time, the target of Avidor's mud is ATS board member Trevor Smallwood, who has no less than 34 years experience in public transport. You say, how can Avidor criticise someone who has spent his life promoting public transit?
Easy. Avidor will torture the facts until they fit his warped vision. Let's analyze what Mr Smallwood is "guilty" of:
- There is a group which is against the deregulation and privatization of transit in the UK. This group has protested increases in fares on buses run by Mr. Smallwood's company, FirstGroup plc. So, Mr. Smallwood is guilty of running a bus company that raised its fares.
- In 1999, FirstGroup made a profit, in the same year that there was a tragic accident involving one of its trains. Avidor thinks this makes FirstGroup "one of the the worst when it comes to privatizing transit", even though the accident was not the fault of the FirstGroup driver! So, Mr. Smallwood is guilty of running a rail company that made a profit in the same year that one of its trains was destroyed by somebody else's error.
- Here's the kicker: apparently, FirstGroup operates school buses in North America. According to Avidor, the use of school buses is directly correlated with "the creation of suburban sprawl rather than transit-oriented communities". Folks, I'm not making this up. Avidor is actually insinuating that urban sprawl is caused by the proliferation of FirstGroup school buses! So, Mr. Smallwood, by virtue of his involvement with school buses, is guilty of suburban sprawl!
Forget his 34 years in public transit! Mr. Smallwood is anti-transit because his buses fares are too high, one of his trains was in an accident in 1999, and he owns school buses in North America. What a transit hater this guy is!
This snippet of tortured logic provided courtesy of Ken Avidor. Somebody notify John McCain.
For more on this Avidor abomination, see Mr. Grant's blog.