Back-biting marks Lord King's passing

LONDON: Lord King's early departure from British Airways on Friday has left behind a bitter row, with his friends and supporters saying he was ''totally let down'' and undermined by his own directors.

Speaking from California on Saturday, Lord Hanson, a lifelong friend of Lord King's, said some of BA's non-executive directors had ''behaved terribly'' towards him. He said they did not have the guts and inspiration to back Lord King up.

Lord Hanson believes Sir Michael Angus, BA's deputy chairman, had wanted to succeed Lord King as chairman ''for a long time'' and failed to support him when it came to the crunch.

''Let's not fool around,'' said Lord Hanson. ''The only man right for the chair is Sir Colin Marshall.'' But Sir Colin, who replaced Lord King on Friday, angrily rejected Lord Hanson's remarks.

Sir Colin insisted there was no question of Lord King having been ''ambushed'' by Sir Michael and BA's other non-executive directors. He said Lord King had stepped down in BA's best interests and had not been pressed to go early.