Freeman joins First
After almost seven years, Reading Transport Ltd CEO, James Freeman, is moving on at the end of September to become MD of First Bristol & West of England. He described the new role as ‘a significant career progression’ and a ‘great personal challenge’. He will take over from Paul Matthews, who has been appointed to First’s newly created MD position in West Yorkshire.
James said, ‘I have had a wonderful time at Reading Buses. We have created a top quality team here whose success has been measured in awards won, passenger satisfaction at record breaking levels and best of all in the high regard that local people have for the buses here and the people who operate them. My time at Reading Buses is the longest stint in one job of my bus industry career of almost 40 years. In the past seven years I have made many good friends here and learned that Reading is a very good place to be.’
‘While I feel no pressure to leave Reading, I feel that the time has come for a new challenge. For family reasons I need to go back to the West Country, so now I have the chance to return to Bristol where I started my first desk based job in the bus industry as a grade 1b clerk way back in April 1975. As a matter of fact I will be moving back to live in the very same road in Bath where I was born!’
Commenting on the appointment of James and Paul, MD of First UK Bus, Giles Fearnley, said, ‘Paul Matthews has done a great job in Bristol and the West of England since early 2013 and I’m delighted he has accepted the position in West Yorkshire. Prior to joining First, Paul had tremendous experience in leading large bus operations for the Go-Ahead Group and RATP Dev, and this will be invaluable as he takes charge in West Yorkshire and looks to further strengthen relationships with all our partners and stakeholders. I’m delighted that James Freeman will take over as MD and build on Paul’s achievements. James has led the transformation of Reading Buses delivering record levels of customer satisfaction and passenger growth and has also led pioneering work on alternative fuels. In James we have recruited one of the bus industry’s star performers, our whole business will benefit from his experience.’