22 March 2006

Changes at the top

The Evening Herald front page story is the removal from his post of First D&C MD Gerald Taylor.

12:00 - 22 March 2006
The managing director of Plymouth bus company First has been replaced in a major management shake-up as the firm strives to improve its performance, the Evening Herald can exclusively reveal.Gerald Taylor, 42, 'stepped down' after two and a half years in the job, but is still employed by First Group Plc. The engineering director for First Devon and Cornwall, Karl Duncan, has also been replaced and has left the company. It is understood he is involved in an appeals process at present.Plymouth staff were told about the changes yesterday.
The new MD is 34-year-old Marc Reddy, a former University of Plymouth student who moves from his post as deputy managing director for First's bus operations in Hampshire and Dorset.Phil Pannell, formerly quality assurance manager for First's UK Bus Division, is the new engineering director.
First Devon and Cornwall said Mr Reddy's appointment was designed to deliver improvements in "commerciality, operational performance and engineering performance".The Plymouth-based firm has struggled financially, and had a difficult year in 2005. In November Mr Taylor apologised to customers for problems with his company's services during the summer and early autumn. In December there was an outcry from residents about the cancellation of a First Bus service to Glenholt and Derriford. There were also three fares hikes during the year.First is particularly keen to make money from its rural routes, including those around Plymouth.
Leon Daniels, commercial director of First's UK Bus, said: "We face a difficult challenge in Devon and Cornwall but I'm confident the new management team will be able to move our business forward in the area."We must continue to improve reliability and punctuality to meet the travel needs of our customers in Devon and Cornwall by offering quality services that are both sustainable and profitable."Marc's considerable commercial and operational abilities, allied to Phil's experience, will continue to improve the company's overall performance and engineering quality."

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