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Brighton and Hove bus boss announces retirement plans
The high-profile boss of a successful bus company is to step down.
Roger French, managing director of The Brighton and Hove Bus Company, is to retire in March next year.
He has been in charge of operation of buses in the city for 30 years.
Mr French moved to Brighton in 1982 and has seen the bus market in the city has grown significantly with the number of journeys made by bus doubling in the last 20 years.
Mr French said: "After 30 years of being involved in running buses in Brighton and Hove, I have decided it's now time to relax and enjoy my retirement. Of course, I shall miss working with all my fantastic colleagues in the bus company in Brighton and Hove as well as the many friends and colleagues I’ve worked with over the years.
"I’ve been very lucky to work with such a great bunch of people in a fantastic part of the country for so long and will always be grateful to everyone for the help and encouragement they have given me. It’s been a particular pleasure to be part of the Go-Ahead Group for the last 19 years.”
Mr French’s career in the bus industry began in 1970 when he was a student working during the summer holidays for London Transport at their central London head office and as a bus conductor in north London.
After undertaking the National Bus Company’s graduate management training scheme in Yorkshire with the West Riding and Yorkshire Woollen bus companies, he became a district traffic superintendent in Ashford with the East Kent company, followed by an area manager with South Wales Transport in Swansea.
In 1982 he moved to the south coast taking up the post of assistant traffic manager with the then Southdown bus company. He has been involved in running the buses in Brighton ever since.
Mr French became manager of the new Brighton and Hove division of Southdown in preparation for deregulation and privatisation in 1985 and was then involved in the management buyout of the newly reformed Brighton and Hove Bus and Coach Company in 1987 and its subsequent sale to The Go-Ahead Group in 1993.
Roger oversaw the successful acquisition and merger of the Brighton Transport company in 1997 and the purchase and integration of Stagecoach’s Lewes-based operations in 2005. He secured the domain name www.buses.co.uk for the company’s website ahead of rivals.
Mr French chairs the city’s Local Strategic Partnership; the Brighton and Hove Business Forum; the Hove Business Partnership; the Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee and the Martlets Hospice. Roger is also a member of the city’s Economic Partnership, the Transport Partnership and the Hove Business Association’s Management Committee and is a Trustee of the Argus newspaper’s charity, the Argus Appeal.
He was awarded an OBE for services to public transport in 2005, an Honorary MA by the University of Brighton in 2007 and became a Deputy Lord Lieutenant for East Sussex in 2007.
In 1999 he was awarded Businessman of the Year in the Sussex Business Awards, in 2006 he was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Sussex award at the Argus Achievement Awards, in 2009 he was awarded the Community and Stakeholder Management Award at the Passenger Transport Management Awards and in 2011 his contribution to the bus industry was recognised by the prestigious Services to the Bus Industry Award at the UK Bus Awards.
He has also overseen the Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company win a plethora of awards over the last 20 years.
In June 2010 Roger published Pride and Joy – my amazing 25 year journey with Brighton and Hove Buses. The book sold nearly 2,000 copies and helped raise around £30,000 for two local charities.
During his retirement, Mr French plans to spend time pursuing his passion for travel and transport.
To leave a goodwill message to Mr French visit The Argus Your Messages page.