Final Regional Director appointment confirmed by Stagecoach as South East business also confirms engineering appointments
Stagecoach announced yesterday that it had made the final appointment in its new-look regional structure. Paul Lynch has been appointed Regional Director London and Wales.
Wales had until recent times been part of the Midlands and Wales patch and then with the last re-organisation was tagged onto Scotland. This was not such a strange setup as it appeared as it put operations in Scotland and Wales, where both countries have devolved Parliaments.
Paul will replace Robert Andrew, who currently looks after Scotland & Wales, and is planning to retire in the summer.
Paul will work alongside Nigel Winter, the Managing Director of Stagecoach South Wales, to lead the strategy for Stagecoach in Wales. Nigel will continue to manage all the day to day operations and stakeholder engagement in Wales.
Sam Greer has recently been appointed Regional Director Scotland.
Paul Lynch has over 20 years’ experience with Stagecoach, starting as a graduate trainee with London Buses in 1984. He has held numerous senior positions with Stagecoach in the UK and overseas, having been Operations Director for Stagecoach Sweden, and Managing Director of both the East Midlands and Yorkshire bus operations. More recently, he has been Regional Director London, looking after Stagecoach’s contracted services on behalf of Transport for London in East and South East London.
Stagecoach now has a team of four Regional Directors covering its bus operations, alongside each of its bus company managing directors. Catherine Acton-Brazier joined the business in November 2019 as Regional Director North, Carla Stockton-Jones will join as Regional Director South in February, and Sam Greer is Regional Director Scotland. Paul Lynch continues in his role as Regional Director London and will take over responsibility for Wales.
Mark Threapleton, Chief Operating Officer for Stagecoach, said: “Paul has extensive experience of running bus operations right across the country, which made him the natural choice for taking over leadership of the strategy for our Wales operation.
“Alongside his current role as Regional Director London, Paul will work with Nigel Winter, the Managing Director of Stagecoach South Wales, to drive forward and deliver further improvements to our service in Wales.”
Paul Lynch added: “There are a number of important and interesting developments and opportunities in Wales, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with Nigel and our excellent team there.”
Further south we hear that Stagecoach South East has appointed two new members to its senior team, in order to continue improving services for its millions of customers.
Mark Wallis and Grahame Patterson have been appointed to the roles of Engineering Director and Fleet Engineer respectively. The new positions will ensure advances are continuously made in areas that matter most to those using Stagecoach services, such as turning up on time and being clean and presentable.
Mark said: “With 32 years’ worth of experience in the bus industry, I am confident that in my new role, I can help Stagecoach South East make strides in making sure our buses are even more punctual, reliable and clean. I’m very pleased to be joining the team and look forward to working together to help make our customers happy.”
Mark previously worked for bus manufacturers Alexander Dennis and Optare before becoming an Engineering Director for Stagecoach South Wales. Grahame, previously Acting Engineering Director, has worked in various roles within Stagecoach South East for over 25 years and is a highly experienced Transport Manager.
Grahame added: “I’m excited to take up the position of Fleet Engineer - having worked for Stagecoach South East for many years, I am well aware of what we do well but also of what we can do to improve. We believe in acting on feedback and a large part of my new role will be to focus on the issues that people have told us matter to them.”
Commenting on the new roles, Joel Mitchell, Stagecoach South East’s Managing Director, said: “I’d like to welcome Mark and Grahame to their new roles. Our recent survey results told us users rank punctuality and reliability as most important to them. We can always do better, and the new senior positions will drive our efforts for continuous improvement.
“Both Mark and Grahame come to their new roles with a plethora of experience, in fact, 65 years of experience combined. We know our customers expect a reliable and clean bus network and I have no doubt in my mind that both Mark and Grahame will work tirelessly to deliver that to the people that matter; customers, colleagues and communities.”
In 2018 Stagecoach celebrated 25 years since taking over the East Kent Road Car Company in 1993. Since then it has almost doubled its fleet to 459 buses, with its new vehicles offering the latest cleaner engine technology to provide greener travel. The company employs more than1,300 people and carries more than 43 million passengers a year.
It’s been a day of announcements from Stagecoach but we have to admit that our smart money was on one of them happening and we even suggested it to one of our industry media contacts last week!
Mike Watson has been confirmed as the new Stagecoach South West Managing Director after taking the role on an interim basis in November. It’s a case of full circle for Mike who held the post of Managing Director at Stagecoach South West between 2015 and 2015.
Mike moved into the interim role following the departure of Bob Dennison at the end of last year. Bob Dennison is currently out in Saudi having joined former Stagecoach UK Bus Director Bob Montgomery and his team (which includes a number of other former Stagecoach managers) out there.
But back to the South West and Mike Watson, who has almost 25 years’ experience of the bus industry and has held a number of senior positions within Stagecoach.
Mike began his career in 1996 in the service planning department at London Transport Buses and then had roles within Go Ahead and Arriva before joining Stagecoach as Operations Director at the North East business in November 2011. Mike has recently been part of Stagecoach’s business development team and has lived with his family in Devon since 2013.
Stagecoach South West carries around 30 million passengers across Devon, Torbay and Plymouth, employing around 1,200 staff.
Mark Threapleton, Chief Operating Officer for Stagecoach, said: “Mike has a strong background in leading successful operating companies and has previous experience of running our operations in the south west. He has already made a positive impact during his short time in the south west.
“We are pleased to be welcoming Mike back to the south west and I wish him and his team the very best for the future.”
Mike Watson added: “I’ve really enjoyed being back in the south west and it’s been great to reunite with the team here.
“This is a really special part of the country to work, live and visit, and having a transport system that meets the needs of its customers is a key part of that. I look forward to working with my team and our partners across the county to make sure we are delivering the very best bus services for our customers.”
Whilst a few hundred miles north, Stagecoach Group has also made an announcement today. It has announced the appointment of Marc Turley as its new Commercial Director overseeing commercial pricing strategy and overall product development.
Marc has worked in various commercial roles within Stagecoach since 2016, and has over 20 years’ experience of the transport industry. He previously worked in senior commercial and marketing positions within East Midlands Trains, a Stagecoach subsidiary, and numerous National Express Group companies.
Marc will take up his new position on Monday 3 February, working as part of Stagecoach’s Operations Board and will work alongside the Business Development team to drive forward the core business strategy.
We understand that Marc will carry forward the work that had been overseen by Paul Bunting before he left the Stagecoach business at the end of last year.
Mark Threapleton, Chief Operating Officer for Stagecoach, said: “I’m very pleased to welcome Marc into his new role as Commercial Director. Marc has a strong background in leading commercial and marketing strategy and has made a very positive impact in his time with Stagecoach.
“Marc will work alongside the senior leadership team in helping to drive forward our strategy for the future, which continues to put customers firmly at the core of our business.”
Marc Turley added: “Stagecoach is a company with a strong vision for the future which places the customer at its heart and I’m pleased to be given the opportunity to continue to play a key role in that.
Another Enviro 400MMC has been delivered to Stagecoach North East’s Walkergate depot in all over white, so that now makes two buses delivered this week in an anonymous white colour scheme. There is no indication yet from Stagecoach on what the intention is for these vehicles but we suspect the new brand image could well be applied using vinyls rather than giving the buses a full repaint – or maybe there is another plan for these two buses, although we suspect that others will be delivered in what amounts to dealer white colours.
Contrast that with the - in our opinion - insipid green livery that 34 E400City electric buses are being/have been delivered in for operations in Manchester and a nominal two-bus operation in Cambridge. I did like a Tweet response from the Stagecoach East team earlier today responding to a question on when the electric buses will enter service from Cambridge (yes, the plan as we understand it is that they will operate from Cambridge and not from Fenstanton. The latter location has been banded about widely on the web!). The response from the Cambridge team is that they need to get a bigger plug before putting the buses into service - a great answer. That said, Cambridge hasn’t seen the two buses yet, they are tucked away in a depot belonging to another Stagecoach company, presumably keeping them safe until needed.
I digress and back to the insipid green, it’s also on 12 Enviro 400XLBs and six Volvo B8RLE/MCV eVoRa saloons for the Cambridgeshire Busway.
That leads us, and we suspect other commentators, to make the assumption that insipid green is the new livery for special operations such as Electric Buses, Busway, Park & Ride. We were expecting a change to the Stagecoach logo, but the current version has been applied to one of the Manchester Enviro 400City vehicles - although I suppose it could easily be replaced with a newer version.
My guess is that all will become clear on Stagecoach livery and branding within weeks now rather than months. It has been a long and drawn-out project though - we first reported on it in 2017!
For over 24 months the project had a low profile outside the company and there was a reluctance to even acknowledge that something specific being undertaken – the band response was that all companies continually look at their brand proposition.
Perhaps the first public acknowledgement was late last year and contained in the report to the half-yearly accounts.
Then Stagecoach said: “We are ready to roll out a new over-arching brand proposition for Stagecoach. This is about far more than a new identity for our vehicles. It incorporates a new brand vision and values, the roll out of commercial initiatives, and an extensive marketing campaign”.
The company added that research had shown that “by increasing brand awareness and relevance and implementing a coordinated marketing and customer strategy, we can improve the end-to-end customer experience and increase our passenger revenue through modal shift”.
It would appear that a greater focus is to be placed on central/national marketing activity which in recent times has tended to be locally driven and focused.
The report adds: “While we intend to continue with our local marketing activity, we see significant potential from complementing that with centrally co-ordinated branding and marketing activity, optimising our position as the UK’s largest bus and coach operator. We have been encouraged by the returns on investment that we have achieved from initial central marketing activity during 2019 and are looking to build on that. Our plans include a mix of short-term tactical marketing activity to drive near term sales, as well as generating long-term revenue and profit growth through brand building.
The company is serious about its proposed brand proposition. That much we know because it intends to increasing its UK Bus brand and marketing spend from c.£8 million per annum to c.£13 million per annum to target passenger revenue growth.
Look out for big changes in the way Stagecoach markets itself and we now await details of what the brand and image looks like for the re-invented Stagecoach
Following our blog last week, Stagecoach has finally announced a number of moves within its bus businesses in the north of the country.
The changes, which take place from the start of next month see four Managing Directors moving to new parts of the Country.
Stagecoach told SKM that the moves are “part of Stagecoach’s ongoing business change programme, which is designed to ensure that the company is fit for the future across its business”.
The MD changes are largely within the Stagecoach UK Bus North region, which is now being led by Catherine Acton-Brazier who was appointed Regional Director North last year and who joined the company from BT & Openreach.
Catherine now oversees Stagecoach’s UK Bus businesses in Cumbria & North Lancashire, East Midlands, Manchester, Merseyside & South Lancashire, North East and Yorkshire. Throughout her career, Catherine has led customer service, operations, innovation, service improvement and change.
The MDs moving offices are:
Matt Davies, Managing Director for Stagecoach Yorkshire, will move to become Managing Director for Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire. has been Managing Director of Stagecoach Yorkshire since July 2016. He has over 25 years’ experience in the bus industry after beginning his career as a management trainee with Lincolnshire RoadCar in 1995 after completing a Transport Management degree at the University of Northumbria. Matt and his family live in the North West, and he has held senior roles in this region with Stagecoach, Arriva and First Group.
Rob Jones, Managing Director for Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire, will move to become Managing Director of Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire. Rob was appointed Managing Director of Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire in December 2016. Rob began his career in the bus industry almost 30 years ago as a cleaner with a local bus company aged just 15. He gained his PCV licence and since then, has held a number of management positions including Operations Manager for Stagecoach North West during which time he won the Young Manager of the Year Award at the 2008 UK Bus Awards.He has also worked as Operations Director in West Scotland and Merseyside and South Lancashire, before becoming Managing Director.
Mark Whitelocks, Managing Director for Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire, will move to become Managing Director for Stagecoach Midlands, which falls under the south region. Mark has been the Managing Director of Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire since May 2018. Mark joined Stagecoach through the company’s Graduate Development Programme and has previously held managerial positions at Stagecoach West, Stagecoach South West and Stagecoach East Scotland before being appointed Managing Director, Stagecoach North Scotland in 2016, and then moving to Cumbria. Mark and his family are originally from the Midlands.
Phil Medlicott, Managing Director for Stagecoach Midlands, will move to become Managing Director for Stagecoach Yorkshire. Phil returned to Stagecoach in June 2018 as Managing Director of the Midlands business.Phil began his career in the bus industry in 1983, becoming a driver and then holding a series of management posts at bus companies in Birkenhead, Runcorn and London before joining Stagecoach in 2000 as Operations Director for Stagecoach South. He worked as Managing Director of Stagecoach Warwickshire, Stagecoach South East and Stagecoach North East before taking up the role as Managing Director of First Manchester in 2016.
Catherine Acton-Brazier, said: “Since joining Stagecoach UK Bus in November, I have been delighted to see the wealth of talent within the business. It’s clear there is a strong focus on delivering the best service for customers, and I want us to continue to be in the best position to embrace all the new opportunities ahead.
“These changes will enable a number of our Managing Directors to gain experience of different areas of our business and provides the opportunity to have a fresh look at our operations in the north to support our strategy for the future.
“I’d like to congratulate Matt, Rob and Phil on their new appointments within my team, and wish Mark all the best as he moves into the south part of our network.”
There are no changes to the Managing Director positions in the other Stagecoach UK Bus North businesses: Manchester, the North East or East Midlands.
In a separate announcement, Stagecoach UK Bus has named its new Regional Director for Scotland as Sam Greer. Sam, who has been in the transport industry for 35 years, is currently Technical & Engineering Director for Stagecoach and will continue in that role as well as taking overall responsibility for the four businesses in Scotland; East Scotland, West Scotland, Bluebird and Highlands.
It follows the announcement that Robert Andrew will be retiring in June after 35 years in the transport industry. Robert joined Stagecoach in 1992 as Operations Manager for Inverness and has held many senior positions across the business, becoming Regional Director for Scotland & Wales in 2019. He has held held a number of Managing Director and Regional Director positions since 2000. Robert will continue to lead the megabus and Citylink coach businesses and Stagecoach South Wales until his retirement.
Sam Greer began his career in 1984 as an apprentice mechanic with the then Scottish Bus Group. He later worked for London Metroline and Strathclyde Buses before joining Western Scottish in 1992 as depot engineer. Following Stagecoach's takeover of Western Scottish, he was appointed as Engineering Director of Stagecoach West Scotland in 1997, a position he held until 2006 when he took on the role of Managing Director of the company. He has previous experience of being Regional Director for Scotland from 2010 to 2016, and more recently, he has held the position of UK Bus Engineering Director and Technical & Engineering Director, with responsibility for Stagecoach’s fleet of over 8,000 buses and coaches.
Mark Threapleton, Chief Operating Officer for Stagecoach, said: “Robert has played a valuable role in our business and has built strong relationships with our stakeholders. Under his leadership, we have seen many successes in Scotland, including the roll out of multi-operator and multi-modal ticketing and the trial of the country’s first autonomous bus. Robert will be a loss to our business, but we wish him all the best for his forthcoming retirement.
“I am delighted that Sam Greer will be taking over the Regional Director Scotland role, in addition to continuing to lead our fleet strategy. Sam has a wealth of knowledge of our business and extensive experience of public transport in Scotland.
"Under Sam’s leadership, we have invested more than £1 billion in new greener vehicles and by the end of this year, we will be running one of the biggest electric bus fleets in Europe. We will continue to lead the way in the transition to a cleaner public transport future.”
It’s been more than 15 years since I was involved in the media, PR and stakeholder work to launch the iconic Pendolino trains into service with Virgin Trains. Now I hear that the iconic train fleet is to undergo a major refurbishment and more than that the work will create scores of high-skilled engineering jobs and secure hundreds more roles throughout the UK.
All 56 electric Pendolino trains, now operated by Avanti West Coast, will be overhauled in a £642m, seven-year deal signed between the route’s new operator, Avanti West Coast, and Alstom which built the fleet.
As well as covering a £127m upgrade of the Pendolinos, which is believed to be the biggest train upgrade programme ever undertaken in the UK, the deal will see Alstom maintain them until 2026
The first of the revolutionary tilting Pendolino trains operated in service in 2002.
The overhaul will focus on onboard facilities, with passengers benefitting from more comfortable seating, improvements to the shop, revamped toilets, better lighting, new interiors, and the installation of at-seat chargers and improved Wi-Fi throughout. Performance will also be improved through new maintenance programmes.
The deal will create 100 high-skilled roles, mostly based at Alstom’s Transport and Technology Centre in Widnes, with hundreds more existing engineering jobs secured at key depots in Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Oxley and Wembley.
Managing Director of Avanti West Coast, Phil Whittingham, said: “The Pendolino is an iconic passenger train and we’re delighted to be giving it a new lease of life. This deal will improve the experience of passengers and ensure the fleet can continue to serve communities up and down the west coast route in the years ahead.”
Nick Crossfield, Managing Director, Alstom UK & Ireland added: “Alstom are proud to have been trusted by First Trenitalia to maintain the Avanti West Coast fleet and upgrade the Pendolino trains. Over the last 15 years these trains have revolutionised travel for passengers, with faster and more frequent services.
“Passengers can now look forward to a new chapter in this story with Avanti West Coast, and with this contract in place, Alstom can look forward to investing even more in high quality jobs and apprenticeships as we deliver these improvements.”
It would appear that changes are on the cards at Stagecoach with several UK Bus Managing Directors set to move in the latest company re-organisation. We understand that several MDs will be playing musical chairs, but that all will have a chair to sit on! More details as they emerge.
Elsewhere within Stagecoach UK Bus, we picked up shortly after Christmas that Paul Bunting had taken the decision to leave the company.
Paul has joined Stagecoach UK Bus in April 2017 as Commercial and New Business Director. He had, however, according to his Linkd-in profile previously worked for Stagecoach Group as UK Business Development Director between 2002 and 2004, leaving to become the Managing Director of the Midland Main Line rail franchise. He has also held senior posts with French state railway SNCF and also the South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust.
Prior to his departure Paul was actively leading the Stagecoach UK Bus brand review.
A spokesperson for Stagecoach said: "Paul Bunting decided to leave the business at the end of December. Paul re-joined Stagecoach in 2017 as Commercial Development & Marketing Director.
"Paul has led marketing, customer experience, research and business development, including work to start simplifying our tickets and of course our upcoming brand refresh.
"We would like to thank Paul for the contribution he has made during his time here at Stagecoach and we wish him well for the future."
Steven Knight is a Transport Specialist who has over 40 years experience in the bus and rail industries as well as in specialist transport journalism. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists.