Doug Claringbold named First West of England MD

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Doug Claringbold has been appointed Managing Director of First West of England. He will join the business in February, and after a handover period he will succeed James Freeman, who is to retire on 31 March.

Mr Claringbold has enjoyed a long career in commercial and operational roles in the ground transport sector, including with Addison Lee, prior to joining First.

Commenting on his appointment, Doug Claringbold says: “During these very difficult times, the professionalism of those working within the First West of England team was evident when I visited Bristol last year and sampled out customer proposition.

“I look forward to working with everyone to realise every opportunity that the recovery will bring, further supporting our communities, delivering exceptional service and building on James’s legacy.”

Adds First Bus Divisional Director Dave Alexander: “James leaves us with our very best wishes for a long and happy retirement, and our sincere thanks for his leadership of the business during the last six years.”

Mr Freeman has earned praise for his oversight of First’s West of England business, which delivered significant passenger growth figures before the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and saw the introduction of Bristol’s MetroBus bus rapid transit network. He joined in 2014 after heading Reading Buses.