Early Career

Central SMT vs Arthur Andersen & co

Brian Joins his Dad as Bus ConductorAs soon as he was 18, Sir Brian started as a student bus conductor with Alexander’s Bus Company in Perth.

Because he received no student grant when he went onto university, Sir Brian had to work full time and study in his spare time. His full time job was working as a bus conductor with Central SMT in Glasgow.

He would work early morning split shifts, finishing just in time to sprint into university in his uniform to attend his lectures then resuming his bus conductor duties in the afternoon.   

Every spare moment at university was spent on the buses but on graduating, he joined Arthur Andersen, then one of the world’s leading chartered accountancy firms.

Based in their Glasgow office, Sir Brian was reluctant to hang up his conductor’s hat, so breaking the firm’s rules which outlawed moonlighting, Sir Brian continued to work on the buses at weekends.

But he was not to get away with his double life for ever.

Greatly embarrassed, Sir Brian had to admit to his boss that he had a dual career when, one Monday morning, he had to explain why he had a busted nose and cuts and bruises all over his face.
It transpired he had been beaten up by a drunken, violent passenger on a late night bus journey.

Colleagues at Arthur Andersen would speculate it was diesel, not blood, that flowed through Sir Brian’s veins and no one was surprised when he set up his own bus service, though many colleagues counselled him against such a move.

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