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The UK’s biggest bus fleet operator, First Group, is facing an uncertain future following a huge full-year financial loss, the sudden departure of chief executive Tim O’Toole, and a share price plunge.
Mr O’Toole succeeded Sir Moir Lockhead as chief executive of Aberdeen-based First Group seven years ago.
A takeover bid for the entire First group by a private equity firm, Apollo, was rejected by the group’s board earlier this year, prompting speculation among analysts that a break-up of the group, with separate sales of individual operations, is now likely.
The success of two apprentices from the Renault Trucks UK dealer network in the initial rounds of a high-profile skills competition is being hailed as more evidence of big recent advances in the quality of service now available to Renault truck operators.
He took over from Hans-Christer Holgersson as Scania (Great Britain) managing director in September 2013.
Mr Hay too has worked for Scania for decades, 28 years to be precise, including spells as managing director of what then was the Scantruck dealer group and later as a director of the company’s south-east region.
Two years ago Mr Hay was promoted to truck sales vice president for Scania’s entire global activities, based in Sweden.
His departure this month follows the shock announcement of a £327 million loss in the year to 31 March 2018.
But Mr O’Toole is understood to be continuing to draw his salary, put at around £1.26 million a year, until the end of September.
Joe Durkan of Leeds, West Yorkshire-based JDS Trucks & Vans and Ben Rogers of Sparks Commercial Services, based in Swindon, Wiltshire, are among the 18 heavy vehicle technicians from across the UK now preparing for next month’s round of a skills competition which will culminate this year at the World Skills UK show in November at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre (NEC).
The 18 have won through to the July “national qualifier” event (a semi-final, in effect) from an initial entry this year of 144.