It seems Caledonian MacBrayne is never far from the headlines these days.

And there is a degree of predictability about many of the issues that crop up about CalMac, which is not infrequently also used as something of a political football.

It is no surprise that the controversy over the delayed ferries being built for CalMac at Ferguson Marine in Port Glasgow continues to rumble on. The delays are long, and the cost overruns are large, and this has triggered much politicking.

These delays have exacerbated CalMac’s challenges with its ageing fleet. And this brings us to another relatively predictable matter when it comes to the Clyde and Hebrides ferry operator – an older fleet is likely to have more breakdowns.

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This is a simple fact, as anyone with an older car, even if it is very well maintained, will know.

What did, however, come as a surprise last week in relation to CalMac was the announcement on Wednesday that chief executive Robbie Drummond was exiting with “immediate effect”.

While not specific about exactly what led to Mr Drummond stepping down, the CalMac board last week flagged “real challenges over this past year” for the island communities served by the ferry operator and set out plainly what it wants from its executive leadership team.

The board wants to “strengthen the focus further on operational performance of an ageing fleet, resilience and enhanced dialogue and responsiveness with the customers and the communities CalMac serves”.

CalMac, revealing these board priorities, said in its statement announcing Mr Drummond’s exit: “As a consequence, the board has reviewed the executive leadership of the organisation to ensure that it is best placed to achieve that during some challenging years ahead. As part of that review, current CEO Robbie Drummond is stepping down with immediate effect.”

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It seems important to emphasise in this context that neither CalMac nor Mr Drummond have responsibility for procurement. It is Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited, another company owned by the Scottish Government, which handles the procurement process. CMAL has itself been in focus amid the storm over the ferries being built by Ferguson Marine.

CalMac and its executive team must operate with the fleet that is procured for them.

The Clyde and Hebrides ferry operator warned on Wednesday that the challenges facing the island communities it serves “are likely set to continue until new vessels are introduced to the fleet over the coming years”.

Duncan Mackison, former chief executive of CalMac holding company David MacBrayne, is succeeding Mr Drummond for now at the helm of the ferry operator.

Mr Mackison “has been appointed interim CEO until a permanent successor has been appointed”, CalMac announced last Wednesday.

One thing that the interim chief executive can be sure of is that CalMac and its performance will remain very much in the public eye in coming months.

Elsewhere on the business front last week, The Herald published the results of a major poll conducted with the Institute of Directors in Scotland.

The opinions on the major business, economic and political issues made for most interesting reading.

Asked if the Scottish Government is doing a better or worse job on business and the economy than the UK Government, or whether their performances are similar, 68% of the 133 respondents, 91 in all, said “worse”, 13% declared “better” and 19% believed “similar”.

This was a perhaps surprising finding, given the UK economy is in recession and the impact of the Conservatives’ hard Brexit on businesses the length and breadth of the UK.

The poll showed that Scottish business leaders overwhelmingly believe that Brexit is a hindrance to the economy north of the Border.

Asked for their views on whether Brexit had hindered or helped the Scottish economy, or neither, 101 of 133 respondents, 76%, said it had been a hindrance. Only 4% believed it had helped, and 20% opted for “neither”.

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Official figures published late last month confirmed the UK economy fell into recession in the final three months of last year with a 0.3% quarter-on-quarter fall in gross domestic product.

One of my columns in The Herald last week analysed the response of Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to this data published by the Office for National Statistics.

It observed that it was difficult to know whether Mr Hunt believed his own story as he reacted to confirmation of recession by declaring the Tory plan was “working”.

And the column noted Mr Hunt appeared as cheerful and pleased with himself as ever - a demeanour which always seems somewhat incongruous given the misery arising for so many businesses and households from the Conservatives’ dire policies and big economic errors.

If this is the grand Tory plan working, one wonders what things would look like if it was not, the column observed, while noting: “Then again, given the Tories’ poor priorities, maybe things would look better if the plan was not working.”

You wonder whether, given this UK backdrop, Mr Yousaf and others in the Scottish Government might feel a bit hard done by that the Conservative administration at Westminster is viewed as doing a better job than them on business and the economy by a big majority of corporate leaders.

Whatever your view on whether this perception among business leaders on the performance of the Scottish and UK governments is surprising or not, what is plain is that the First Minister and his administration have much work to do if they want to win over the business community.