Exiling former ops director Andrew Wickham to Plymouth has given Go South Coast MD Alex Carter an opportunity to reshuffle.
Wickham’s job had grown significantly since his appointment and from Monday is now split into two. There are two points of interest and both will raise the odd eyebrow: who’s been appointed and their spread of duties.
“Stylish coach hire” indeed, from Damory. This is a Scania N270/Olympus from Buspicssouth, used with permissionMarc Morgan Huws moves up from manager at Southern Vectis to divisional director in charge of SVOC and what till this week was the former Wilts Dorset coach fleets—Damory, Bell’s, Kingston, Lever’s, Marchwood Motorways and Tourist. At first flush, this seems an odd match. Huws is rightly credited for the good things he’s done in growing the island’s bus business. How does that match with the eclectic coaching fleets?
Well, for one thing, Damory in particular has grown considerably though quietly, in recent years. For another, SVOC has itself sort-of hived off its school work to its sort-of arms length coaching unit. But more than that, the message I read is that Go South Coast is taking very seriously the development of its coaching and so-called lower cost units. Once viewed by industry watchers as peripheral to the overall GSC business, giving them the gravitas of a divisional director means we can expect major (and positive) change.
That leaves the other divisional director responsible for W&D itself and neighbouring Bluestar. That’s an interesting combination, too. To all intents, Bluestar has been moving closer to W&D in any case, as an operation of the latter but under a unique branding.
And the divisional director of the W&D/Bluestar combine? Here, eyebrows really will rise. It’s Ed Wills. Wills, a runner up in the 2009 UK Bus Oscars’ manager of the year beauty contest, is currently head of operations with competitor Transdev Yellow Buses. Wills has managed to prove himself in Bournemouth with the successful completion of a number of projects. TYB has a strong staff development policy and has been very supportive of this rising star. Perhaps rather *too* supportive…
With Wills running the commercial & operational side of things at W&D and Huws doing the same at Damory, a business interestingly having developed quite some in and around Poole, we see the power of lateral thinking. Not for GSC the déjà vu of a SVOC/Bluestar and W&D/coaching fleets split.
This leaves vacancies at SVOC and TYB plus an unfilled managerial position at Bluestar following the departure of Alex Hornby to Trent Barton. Sorting this lot out will be first on the list of the newly appointed divisional directors and we wish them well with their overflowing in-trays.