Page last updated at 10:55 GMT, Wednesday, 1 April 2009 11:55 UK

New tram boss announced for city

Richard Jeffrey
Richard Jeffrey will be tasked with management of the tram project

The new chief executive of Edinburgh's tram project has been appointed just months after the previous boss resigned from the post for family reasons.

Richard Jeffrey, former managing director of Edinburgh Airport, will take up the job in May.

The new Transport Edinburgh Limited (Tie) boss will oversee the £512m project, which is due to end by 2011.

Willie Gallagher left the post at the end of November after two years in the role.

Mr Jeffrey will be tasked with management of the tram project through the construction phase until operation.

Mr Jeffrey, a chartered civil engineer, is the current president of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce.

The news follows last months four-week dispute between Tie and its contractors Bilfinger Berger, which halted work on Princes Street.

The dispute, which has now been resolved, is understood to have thrown the project about a week behind schedule.

Richard was the outstanding candidate from a pool of highly talented applicants

David Mackay
Tie chairman

Mr Jeffrey said: "This is a fantastic job. I join the Edinburgh tram project at a crucial stage in its progress.

"I believe that the introduction of trams and their integration with Lothian Buses will make a real and positive difference to the lives of those that live in, work in and visit Edinburgh.

"I am thoroughly looking forward to meeting and working with everybody at tie and getting to work on this world class tram system which will be the envy of cities across the UK."

Jenny Dawe, Edinburgh City Council leader, said: "The trams are crucial to the economic development of Edinburgh and it was critical that we attracted a person with the strategic vision to see this project through to completion.

"It is a major coup for Edinburgh to attract such a talented pool of applicants from across Europe for this post.

"In Richard, we have identified someone with a proven commitment to the city as well as the management and engineering credentials to see the project through to delivery."

Tom Aitchison, chief executive of Edinburgh City Council said: "I look forward to working with Richard on this critical project for the city.

"It is essential that Tie and the council work closely together to capitalise on the strengths in both organisations to deliver a first class integrated transport system for Edinburgh."

David Mackay, Tie chairman, said: "Richard was the outstanding candidate from a pool of highly talented applicants.

"The calibre of the competition and the eventual appointment reflects very well on Edinburgh and the importance of the project to the capital and indeed Scotland as a whole."

"We all welcome Richard to Tie and look forward to working with him and I have full confidence that he will deliver a world class tram for the city."

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