Stagecoach, the UK’s biggest bus, coach and tram operator, has appointed Lee Wasnidge, 56, as its new Managing Director for its bus operations in Manchester – the PLC’s biggest bus company.
Lee will succeed Elisabeth Tasker, 53, who announced in August that she was planning to retire in January 2021 to spend more time with her family after spending 20 years with Stagecoach.
Lee, who has extensive experience across public transport, airports and retail, will join on 4 January 2021.
It follows a competitive process involving internal and external candidates over a number of weeks to search for a successful candidate.
Lee will be responsible for 2,300 employees and more than 750 buses operating across Greater Manchester enabling around 106 million bus journeys a year.
Over the past five years, Stagecoach Manchester has invested more than £37m in new buses and services, including the introduction of the region’s first double decker electric buses representing one of the biggest single investments in electric buses anywhere in Europe.
Lee was most recently Customer Service and Security Director for Manchester Airport Group, delivering front line services to 30m customers a year.
He has worked in senior customer service positions across a range of sectors, including Northern Rail and Transdev, as well as a number of fast-moving consumer goods businesses including Asda, Iceland, Pets at Home and PepsiCo.
Lee also has extensive experience of stakeholder engagement, having worked closely with national and local authorities and major business groups throughout his career. Lee lives near Chester with his wife and two children.
Stagecoach has a major presence in the North West, supporting nearly 4,500 direct jobs and a further 1,500 jobs through the supply chain. For every £1 in direct GVA contributions, an additional 61p is pumped into the wider regional economy.*
Carla Stockton-Jones, UK Managing Director for Stagecoach said: “Our bus services play a major role in connecting communities across Greater Manchester and as we start to re-build from the impact of Covid-19, our priority is to work with stakeholders to deliver the best and most sustainable bus network for the region in the longer term.
“Lee’s vast experience will help us to ensure we are in the best position to maximise the significant opportunities for public transport in the future.
“At the same time, we must play tribute to Elisabeth Tasker for her fantastic contribution to the business and the local community, and wish her the very best for her retirement.
“Under Elisabeth’s leadership, major investment has been made to improve services for customers, with new buses and new services including the recent introduction of region’s first ever double decker electric buses. She has been a great asset to Greater Manchester and I’m sure everybody will join me in wishing her well.”
Lee Wasnidge added: “Greater Manchester is a hugely important region and there are some massive opportunities to help the region grow. Our bus services play an extremely important role in Greater Manchester, the powerhouse of the north, and are vital to supporting the local economy and communities as we recover from Covid-19.
“Partnerships will be crucially important as we move forward into the post-Covid world in ensuring that public transport supports the country’s green recovery.
“I’m looking forward to re-connecting with Transport for Greater Manchester and Greater Manchester Combined Authority and building new relationships with all the other stakeholders across the region as we work together to ensure Manchester has a world-class transport system.”