STAGECOACH boss Sir Brian Souter has signalled his intention to step down from the driving seat of the company he co-founded more than 30 years ago.
Sir Brian, whose family owns a stake worth £400m in the transport giant, will take on the role of chairman after deciding to relinquish day-to-day running of the firm he established with just two buses in Perth.
It is now one of the UK’s biggest bus, coach and rail operators and a major operator in the United States with a stock market valuation of £1.7bn.
The company carries around a quarter of a million passengers in the North East each day and employs more than 1,600 people across Sunderland, Hartlepool, Teesside, Newcastle and South Shields.
The switch from chief executive to chairman goes against corporate governance codes, but Stagecoach said it was important to retain the 58-year-old’s expertise after he is replaced by finance director Martin Griffiths from May.
The boardroom change came as the company reported “good” trading in the 12 weeks to July 22 and said it remains on-track to hit full-year targets.
Sir Brian said: “I remain committed to the success of Stagecoach and consider now to be an appropriate time to plan to take a step back from the day-to-day management of the business.”
The Perth-born entrepreneur worked as a bus conductor in Glasgow to fund his way through university where he was studying to become a chartered accountant.