UK’s FirstGroup Plc sais it has appointed Matthew Gregory as Chief Executive with immediate effect.
The company said in addition to his role as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Group Matthew has been performing the role of interim Chief Operating Officer (COO), with the operating divisions reporting directly to him, since May 2018. Following this appointment, Chairman Wolfhart Hauser will revert to his non-executive Chairman role.
The Group also announces today that Steve Gunning has been appointed to the Board as an independent Non-Executive Director, with effect from 1 January 2019.
Commenting FirstGroup Chairman Wolfhart Hauser said:
“Since his appointment as Interim COO in May, Matthew has demonstrated the combination of strong leadership skills and strategic decisiveness, which has allowed us to make progress in a number of key areas. Having conducted a thorough selection process, which considered external and internal candidates, the Board unanimously concluded that Matthew is the right person to take on the role of Chief Executive. Matthew’s comprehensive knowledge of the Group, his experience in previous roles and leadership capabilities are precisely the qualities needed to drive the Group’s value mobilisation strategy at pace, and I look forward to the Group making further progress under Matthew’s leadership.
“I am also delighted to welcome Steve Gunning to the Board of FirstGroup as a non-executive director. Steve’s extensive financial and operational expertise, and knowledge from his senior roles at British Airways, one of the most important customer brands in transport, will be of immense value to the Group.”
Matthew Gregory said:
“It’s a great honour to lead FirstGroup and our 100,000 employees who are relied upon by millions of customers across the UK and North America each day. I believe we are now in a better position to make the most of our opportunities and create a stronger business for the future. I am committed to delivering on our plans to improve our offering, increasing ease and convenience for customers, and creating sustainable value for shareholders.”
Matthew Gregory was appointed Interim COO of FirstGroup on 31 May 2018, having joined as CFO in December 2015. He joined the Group from Essentra plc, where he was Group Finance Director for nearly three years, having previously been Director of Corporate Development as well as performing a number of senior finance roles. Matthew has strong financial and operational expertise, including strategic and financial planning and control, as well as extensive international experience of driving performance improvement and restructuring. His early career was spent at Rank Group plc and Ernst & Young.
To ensure the continuation of strong financial leadership and control, Nick Chevis, who is Director of Finance, will become Interim CFO, with immediate effect. In this capacity he will attend the Board, but will not be appointed as an Executive Director. The process is underway to recruit a permanent CFO.
Steve Gunning has served in increasingly senior financial and operational roles at British Airways, part of the International Airlines Group (IAG), since 1998. Since 2016 he has served as Chief Financial Officer of British Airways. Prior to this Steve was CEO of the IAG Cargo division for five years. During his career Steve has gained considerable experience leading operational turnarounds, major corporate integration processes and complex pension negotiations. Steve qualified as a Chartered Accountant at PwC.