FIRSTGROUP is “confident” in its board despite a bid by one of its largest shareholders to remove its chief executive and chairman in a clearout of directors.

Matthew Gregory took the top job at the Aberdeen-based transport giant in November, six months after his predecessor Tim O’Toole stood down in the wake of £326 million losses.

Now investor Coast Capital, which owns 9.77% of the company’s issued share capital, aims to oust him and Wolfhart Hauser, who chairs the FirstGroup board, in a six-director sweep.

Yesterday, FirstGroup confirmed it has received a requisition notice from Hermes-Golden Limited, a company managed by Coast Capital, to call a general meeting on the matter.

If successful, the move would see seven of Coast’s nominees appointed to the panel, which is currently 11-strong.

If the backing of more than 50% of voting investors is secured, the new appointees could include former transport minister Steven Norris, a former Tory MP.

The move comes after Coast Capital increased its stake in the group by 1%.

A letter will be sent to all shareholders “in due course”.

In an official statement, FirstGroup – which grew out of the deregulation of local bus services in the late 1980s – said: “The board of FirstGroup are focused on delivering shareholder value and are confident that the company has the right team with the right experience and plans in place to do so.”

The FTSE 250 company, which holds brands including US long-haul coach firm Greyhound, is due to report its full year results at the end of this month.

Coast Capital has called for a break-up of operations, claiming it has been underperforming.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Coast Capital partner James Rasteh branded the current FirstGroup directors as “all shades of super destructive to extraordinarily under-qualified”.

In November, Hauser rejected a move by Coast Capital to acquire Greyhound, telling him: “We did not consider it to be in the interests of all shareholders for us to enter into such an arrangement.”

He also addressed calls by Rasteh to replace board members, commit to a dividend and separate UK and US assets.