Optare appoints new Chief Executive

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Enrico Vassallo entered the bus industry in 2005 with Iveco Irisbus
Enrico Vassallo entered the bus industry in 2005 with Iveco Irisbus

Enrico Vassallo replaces interim CEO P G Nilsson

Optare Group has announced the appointment of Enrico Vassallo as CEO of the company, who took up the role on Thursday, September 5.

Vassallo, 45, replaces P G Nilsson who was the interim CEO since January 1, 2013. Glenn Saint will continue in his role as Deputy CEO of the Optare Group.

Optare’s Chairman, John Fickling, said: “I am very pleased to welcome Enrico to Optare. He brings a wealth of international sales experience in the bus industry gained in several of the key markets which we are targeting as part of our strategic aim of developing a stronger export business.

“This will significantly strengthen the leadership team at Optare by combining his considerable international automotive management and sales experience with Glenn Saint’s wide knowledge of, and high standing in, the British bus industry.

“On behalf of the Board I’d like to thank P G Nilsson for his assistance in steering the business in the first nine months of 2013.”

Mr Vassallo comes to Optare with a strong record in vehicle manufacturing and international sales. Following graduation in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Genoa he joined the Iveco Group in 1996 and has since held a number of senior management positions covering purchasing, manufacturing, and overseas sales of commercial vehicles and components in Africa, Australasia and latterly, South America.

His involvement in the bus industry began in 2005 with his appointment as the Iveco Irisbus Sales and Marketing Director for Africa and the Middle East. Two years later he became General Manager for Irisbus Italia, where he was responsible for an operation employing 750 people designing and selling a full range of buses and coaches. In 2011 he moved to Brazil to take up a post as President of FPT Industrial, which manufactures commercial vehicle components at two plants and has 680 employees.

Enrico Vassallo said: “I am looking forward to the challenge of building on the strong reputation which Optare has as an innovator in the design, development and manufacture of buses and in particular in the field of low carbon vehicles. In that quest I shall be relying on the skills and talents of the Optare team.

“I also see great opportunities to use my own experience to help expand Optare’s presence in overseas markets, where it is already achieving some encouraging results with support from Ashok Leyland.”