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New leaders to join Edinburgh’s publicly owned transport companies

Posted: 22nd December 2015

Three of the most senior positions in the Scottish transport sector have been filled, following the recruitment of a Transport for Edinburgh Chief Executive, a Managing Director of Lothian Buses and a General Manager for Edinburgh Trams.

George Lowder MBE has been appointed Chief Executive of Transport for Edinburgh, Richard Hall has secured the Managing Director role at Lothian Buses and Lea Harrison will be General Manager at Edinburgh Trams.

All three appointees will be expected to build on the performance of the existing award-winning and highly rated services, whilst also contributing to the Capital’s ambition to have one of the greenest, healthiest and most accessible transport systems in northern Europe by 2030.

Lesley Hinds, Chair of Transport for Edinburgh and Transport Convenor for the City of Edinburgh Council, said:

“We expected that these positions would attract high calibre candidates and we weren’t disappointed. Transport for Edinburgh and the city it serves are major attractions for some of the best in the UK transport profession and I’m delighted that we have secured such exceptional interest.

“Our new senior team will be pivotal in supporting the transport infrastructure we need but also the wider economy. I wish George, Richard and Lea all the very best in their new roles and I look forward to working with them as a team as we continue to push Edinburgh’s integrated transport agenda.”

Jim McFarlane, Chair of Lothian Buses and Transport for Edinburgh Board Member, said:

“Hundreds of thousands of residents, workers and visitors rely on our buses every day and we are proud to provide them with one of the best city operations in the UK. With Edinburgh growing in popularity as a place to live, work and visit, our services are crucial to the smooth running of the city.

“We also have ambitious plans to further improve the quality of our fleet, making our services cleaner and greener. So, we are delighted to be able to appoint Richard, who has vast experience and excellent leadership credentials, to lead the whole Lothian Buses team to further success.”

Charles Monheim, Chair of Edinburgh Trams and Transport for Edinburgh Board Member, said:

“Lea comes to Edinburgh Trams with a wealth of operational experience in the industry that stretches right back to his days as a tram driver. His work with the Nottingham tram stands him in good stead to come to Edinburgh to build on foundations laid over the last 18 months of service.

“The trams have become an established and valued part of city life and will remain a crucial part of the long-term transport vision for the city. Working with sister company Lothian Buses as part of Transport for Edinburgh, Lea will lead and inspire our team to even more success.”

Each of the positions will report to the Chair of their respective board, with the Managing Director of Lothian Buses and the General Manager of Edinburgh Trams also having ‘dotted line’ accountability to the Chief Executive of Transport for Edinburgh. The Managing Director of Lothian Buses and the General Manager of Edinburgh Trams will sit on the respective boards and the Chief Executive of TfE will attend all three boards.

Details of start dates are yet to be agreed.


George Lowder MBE

George will join TfE from the military after a decorated career in Defence spanning nearly 35 years. Commissioned into The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment) in 1981, he studied Scots Law at Aberdeen University and gained a Masters from Cranfield University before commanding The Army in Scotland. Latterly his role was in the MOD, where he led a multi-agency and multi-disciplined team. During his military career he received a Commander’s Commendation for his actions on Operation Desert Storm, a Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service in Bosnia and in 1998 he was made an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List. George was born and educated in Edinburgh and his family are resident in the City. George is a competent sailor and was a keen rugby player. He remains a keen skier and golfer when time allows.

Richard Hall FCILT

Richard is a seasoned bus professional and is a chartered fellow of the institute of logistics and transport. After studying electrical engineering, Richard started his bus career in coaches and private hire and then spent 6 years with Stagecoach and 3 years with Veolia Transport in Wales. He joined Arriva in 2010 where he worked in the west coast of Scotland and Glasgow before working on the transportation delivery for the 2012 Olympics and laterally in Malta. Richard is currently the Managing Director for RATP in London where he has been responsible for leading over 3700 people, across 11 operating sites, operating contracted bus services for Transport for London as well as a developing commercial bus and coach operation launched in 2015. A keen outdoor enthusiast, Richard enjoys mountain biking, skiing and he is a keen walker.

Lea Harrison MCMI

After starting his career in the Royal Corps of Transport as a Driver for 8 years, Lea then progressed to the rank of Corporal before leaving the Army for civilian life where he joined Greater Manchester Metrolink (Manchester Tram), at the entry level, as Tram Driver in 1991. He has since developed his career in tramways from Driver to General Manager over the last 25 years – the first person to do so in recent times in any UK tramway. Lea stayed at the Manchester tramway and worked his way up to Head of Contract Delivery where he worked on line improvements and extensions as well as ensuring the day to day operations were in line with customer and client expectations. Since 2011 Lea has spearheaded delivery of the major expansion of the Nottingham Express Transit tram network, which officially opened for passenger service in August. He is currently Head of Service Delivery with NET concessionaire, Tramlink Nottingham with responsibility for partnership working with the operating company and Nottingham City Council. In 2002 he gained a post graduate diploma in Management Studies and is a chartered member of the Management Institute.

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