First goes local in Wales & South West

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FirstGroup is re-structuring its operations in the South West of England and Wales with an emphasis on a more localised management team.

Depots will be grouped into four operating business, Bristol & Avon; Hampshire, Dorset & Berkshire; South West (Somerset, Devon and Cornwall); and Cymru. Each business will have an MD.

The first stage of the restructuring is the removal of the Regional board. First will continue to review these business unit structures over the next 12 months to ensure they are meeting local needs. It is anticipated the changes will be implemented by June 3.

Giles Fearnley told CBW: “Our business model is evolving and has now matured to where we need to look at how to manage these companies. We want to create a more flexible and responsive businesses with local management.This will give them the responsibility to make decisions which will improve the performance and profitability of each depot.

“There are no fundamental changes being made to the rest of our UK Bus structure – this approach reflects the need of South West and Wales region. This re-structuring is not a one-size fits all solution. In South Wales and the West we’ve got very significant businesses which are geographically separated. Therefore, the time is right to strengthen our local teams. The companies are significant in scale but they’re very different. As we’re now working hard to grow, it’s right we ensure we’ve got sufficient resources and people of the right calibre in place to run at local levels.”

Asked about recruitment, Giles replied: “We are advertising the senior roles. In the past 18 months we’ve recruited a number of people from outside FirstGroup, who have supplemented our existing team. I’m confident will be able to fill these roles.”