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First for Fearnley in UK Bus move

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First has secured a major success in recruiting highly-respected industry manager Giles Fearnley to head its UK Bus division. Fearnley takes over as managing director of First UK Bus next week.

Fearnley first came to prominence when he led a management buy-out of the AJS Group in 1991 which created Blazefield Holdings, where he instigated a new focus on quality, most famously with leather-seated double-deckers on the service linking Harrogate and Leeds. Blazefield had operations in Yorkshire, Lancashire and the London area. He remained as chief executive for two years following the group’s sale to Transdev in 2006.  He also co-founded Prism Rail, which operated four passenger rail franchises, and was Prism’s chief executive from 1997 until its sale in 2000.

He is currently chairman of CPT, and a past president of the organisation. Since 2001 he has chaired Journey Solutions, the bus and rail industry initiative to promote integration, and he also chairs Greener Journeys, the bus and coach industry’s campaign to promote modal shift from cars.

First chief executive Tim O’Toole says: “I am delighted to welcome Giles to the group where his extensive background and experience in passenger transport will be of great benefit to our UK Bus division and its continued successful development.”

Fearnley takes over from Mary Grant, currently managing director Rail division and interim managing director Bus division, who has decided to leave the company at the end of March. Grant took on responsibility for First’s bus business last June following the departure of Nicola Shaw. Shaw had joined First in 2005 from the Strategic Rail Authority.

www.firstgroup.com

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