Former Transport Minister, Norman Baker, has been appointed as the MD of The Big Lemon. The Brighton and Hove based sustainable bus operator announced the new position on Thursday 16 March. Norman takes up his new role on Tuesday 21 March 2017. The position was advertised in Bus and Coach Buyer recently, the only trade press the advert appeared in, as well as a national newspaper. Founder and Chief Executive of the operation, Tom Druitt, said a ‘lot of high quality people applied’ and was ‘very excited to receive an application from Norman Baker’.
Speaking to Bus and Coach Buyer, Tom said, ‘Norman went through the same process as everyone else and it was very clear he was the man for the job. He has a proven track record in championing buses and sustainable transport. He was very effective in his role as Under Secretary of State for Transport and is well liked and respected in the industry. In terms of where we would like to go as a company, he has a set of skills, experience, expertise and relationships that will help us.’
Norman is to be in charge of running the Brighton and Hove operation, which Tom expects will free up his time to ‘look for new opportunities in other parts of the country’. Tom is seeking to replicate the success he has had with The Big Lemon elsewhere in the UK, rolling out sustainable transport operations. The Brighton business forms a ‘template’ for the introduction of these operations.
Speaking of his appointment, Norman said, ‘I am delighted to be joining The Big Lemon, which has gone from strength to strength in recent times. I feel particularly at home with its strong environmental approach, showing you can run a successful business in an ethical manner.’
As he enters the new role, Norman is to step down from his current position as Chair of Bus Users UK. Commenting on this, he said, ‘I have enjoyed my time with Bus Users UK and pleased to have been able to help it through a period of transition from which it has emerged stronger. It is vital that there is a powerful voice for the bus passenger and Bus Users UK is that voice.’
Bus Users UK Chief Executive, Claire Walters, said, ‘Bus Users has benefited hugely from Norman’s commitment to, and passion for public transport. His input has been particularly valuable around the Bus Services Bill and we are pleased that his vast knowledge and expertise will continue to benefit the industry. We wish Norman every success in his new role.’