Managing Director – First West of England

First West of England, operating over 25m miles and carrying 67 million passengers in a year, is seeking an exceptional candidate as its Managing Director, replacing the hugely respected James Freeman who retires in 2021.

Operating across an area covering 4 Local Authorities and including Bristol, Bath, Wells and Weston Super Mare, the business is acclaimed for leading the bus sector in so many ways, particularly delivering impressive market growth and innovation. Through the pandemic, the business, supported by every one of its staff, has excelled – delivering essential services without interruption, and now playing a vital role in supporting the economic and social recovery of all the areas it serves. Customers are always centerstage at First West of England and this has never been more so than in the last few months when so much has been done to ensure their safety and now in recovery, supporting every one to have the confidence to use buses again.

Central to its success – past, present and future – are our Stakeholders, and none more so than the local authorities in whose areas we operate. Our Mayors, Tim Bowles (West of England) and Marvin Rees (Bristol) are huge supporters of the Bus and are delivering policies and investments to ensure going forward this mode plays an even greater role in local transport solutions. The Managing Director is crucial in leading this engagement and working alongside politicians and their officers continuously.

This is an unprecedented time to join the business. As we emerge from the pandemic there is a huge opportunity supported by initiatives such as Mayor Rees’s Bristol Bus Deal, for buses to play an ever-greater part in the local transport mix. We are therefore looking for someone who can inspire and lead the business out of the current crisis, drawing on the support of all 1600 staff and stakeholders.

You will report to First Bus’s Divisional Director, taking responsibility for this business with an annual turnover of £115m. You will ensure West of England meets the highest standards of customer satisfaction and service, safety and operational performance.

Previous senior management experience is essential, and you may have a background in logistics from an airline, rail or road transport sector, or from another b2c service or leisure environment.

We’re looking for a proven track record of providing inspirational, strategic and tactical leadership, and the ability
to roll up your sleeves and get involved when it matters. That means you’ll need to be an exceptional and influential communicator, coach, and team builder. And you’ll have a commercially astute approach, a high degree of business acumen, and the ability to understand our market, competition and the evolving needs of our customers.

Calm and professional under pressure, you’ll also have the gravitas to inspire confidence at Executive Committee and Board level, as we drive our business to further success.

Find out more and apply at

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