Page last updated at 14:57 GMT, Thursday, 30 October 2008

Lothian bus man to retire early

Neil Renilson
Neil Renilson is to leave his posts by the end of the year

One of Edinburgh's key transport leaders is to take early retirement, as the capital continues to struggle with the new trams project.

Neil Renilson, 52, is to leave his jobs as chief executive of Lothian Buses and Transport Edinburgh Limited chairman.

Lothian Buses had seen strong passenger growth until roadworks started in the spring. Since then numbers have slumped by 8%.

The firm's chairman, Pilmar Smith, said he was sorry Mr Renilson was leaving.

Mr Renilson said he was quitting the posts at the end of the year to allow his successor time to prepare for the introduction of trams in Edinburgh.

Mr Renilson, was due to take over running a new tram system in the city once it was complete in 2011 under his job role for Transport Edinburgh Limited, as well as continuing to lead Lothian Buses.

I was involved in the appointment of Neil 10 years ago and knew then that we had appointed someone very special
Tom Aitchison
Edinburgh City Council

He said: "It had always been my intention to retire at 55, and I am happy to have been able to take the opportunity to retire a little early, which will allow the company to adjust to my departure well in advance of the introduction of the trams.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my 10 years at Lothian, and wish to thank all the staff for their help and support during my time with the company.

"It is gratifying to be able to leave in place a sound, successful business with a dedicated team of staff who I am sure will further develop the UK's best bus company."

Mr Smith said: "I am sorry that Neil will be leaving us, and would like to express my gratitude to him for his sterling efforts over the past 10 years in modernising and reshaping the company.

"Ian Craig, managing director, has been with us now for two years, and we have every confidence Ian, the team of directors and the managers will continue to drive the company forward as we enter challenging and exciting times with the construction of the tram moving into top gear from early next year."

'Impressive results'

Tom Aitchison, Edinburgh City Council's chief executive, said: "I was involved in the appointment of Neil 10 years ago and knew then that we had appointed someone very special.

"Neil has driven the company forward and under his leadership it has achieved impressive results.

"He is hugely committed to public transport and has transformed Lothian Buses into an award-winning company."

Jenny Dawe, Edinburgh City Council leader, said: "I wish Neil all the very best in his retirement and a very sincere thank you from both myself and the city.

"Neil has been instrumental in making the capital's bus service the best in the UK, which has been acknowledged in countless awards.

"I am sorry to see Neil go at this time because I thought he was an ideal person to see us through to the realisation of a world class integrated public transport system in Edinburgh."

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