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National Express finance head steps down

National Express is the largest coach operator in the UK with a total fleet of 28,000 vehicles  (National Express)
National Express is the largest coach operator in the UK with a total fleet of 28,000 vehicles (National Express)

Coach operator National Express is set to lose Chris Davies its chief finance officer to technical products business Diploma.

Davies joined National Express in May 2017. He is subject to a six month notice period and the group is already on the hunt for his successor.

He departs after an abortive attempt by the business to create a merger between National Express and Scottish bus giant Stagecoach.  Stagecoach eventually accepted an offer from German investment company DWS Infrastructure valuing it at nearly £600 million, knocking National Express out of play.

The bid from National Express had valued Stagecoach at £445 million. The business had proposed the merger of the two companies in an all-share combination that would have created a fleet of 36,000 buses and coaches valued at £1.9 billion.

Stagecoach runs the Megabus coach service across the UK along with buses in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheffield, Hull, Oxford and Cambridge.

Stagecoach chief executive had described the unsolicited bid from DWS as an offer from a “worldwide global asset manager” and a large pan-European infrastructure business that was a “very serious player”.

Ignacio Garat, boss of National Express, said:  “I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of all of the board, to thank Chris for his contribution to National Express over the last five years, and in particular for his leadership of the company as interim CEO for a period during 2020.”

Davies said: “National Express has a fantastic team and I wish them all the best for the future.”

He described the company as a “great business, playing an important role in societies across the UK, Europe and North America”.