Brian Souter Receives Major European Transport Award

Monday, 14 June 2010


  • Stagecoach founder recognised for career of service to public transport
  • Judges praise Scottish entrepreneur for innovation and sustainability
  • Former bus conductor changed perception of bus and rail travel



Stagecoach Group Chief Executive Brian Souter was presented with a major European award in Paris for a career of service to public transport.


The co-founder of Stagecoach, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, was honoured for transforming the perception of public transport and attracting people from all social backgrounds to get on board buses and trains.


He celebrated by having his photograph taken at the Eiffel Tower aboard a vintage London Routemaster bus. 


Judges at the inaugural Talent in Mobility awards praised Brian Souter's commitment to innovation and his leading role in encouraging car users to switch to greener, smarter bus and rail travel.


The former bus conductor and award-winning businessman has been behind some major transport innovations over the past three decades, including the market-leading budget coach service and the UK's first Biobuses.


He has also been instrumental in developing new policy ideas, such as the Kickstart pump-priming concept to promote new bus routes and ideas on vertical integration to further improve the railways.


Supported by the UITP, the International Association of Public Transport, the 'Talent in Mobility' awards are judged by a panel of European transport journalists. The awards honour women and men who are contributing to the development of public transport and sustainable mobility across Europe.


Brian Souter said: "It is a great honour to receive such a prestigious European Transport award. I'm lucky enough to do a job in a sector I'm passionate about and this award is also a tribute to the many people at Stagecoach who have worked with me and contributed to our success over the past 30 years.


"I believe public transport has a great future as we see increasing signs of economic recovery and it has a major role to play in helping Europe and the rest of the world meet  the challenge of climate change."


Brian Souter (55) co-founded Stagecoach with his sister, Ann Gloag, in 1980 with just two buses and has developed the company into a leading international transport group in the UK and North America with 30,000 employees and an annual turnover of more than £2billion.

Stagecoach has been a trailblazer in public transport and was one of the first companies to take advantage of deregulation in the UK in 1980. It was one of the first major transport groups to expand overseas, having run services in five continents across the globe over the past three decades. The company won the first UK rail franchise in the mid-1990s when it took over South West Trains, the UK's biggest commuter rail network.


Brian Souter is also one of the UK's best-known private entrepreneurs, with an eye for new business opportunities.  He is a committed angel investor, providing crucial seed capital for new business start-ups. Brian Souter has a wide portfolio of personal investments, including bus and ferry companies in New Zealand and a large stake in bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis Ltd.


He is also a significant contributor to charitable causes and a committed supporter of health projects. Earlier this year, he launched the UK's first Healthy Heart Bus, a voluntary heart health screening programme for employees in Stagecoach's UK Bus division. Brian Souter has personally pledged £1million towards the £2m initiative.





Brian celebrates receiving the top european award at the Eiffel Tower onboard a vintage London Routemaster bus




  • Stagecoach Group is a leading international public transport group, with extensive operations in the UK, United States and Canada. The company employs 30,000 people, and operates bus, coach, rail, and tram services.
  • Stagecoach is one of UK's biggest bus and coach operators, running around 7,000 vehicles from south-west England to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and carrying around 2 million passengers every day.
  • Stagecoach is a major UK rail operator, running the South West Trains, Island Line and East Midlands Trains networks. It has a 49% shareholding in Virgin Rail Group, which operates the West Coast inter-city rail franchise.
  • Stagecoach is also Britain's biggest tram operator, running networks in both Sheffield and Manchester.


Brian Souter biography


Brian Souter (55) is one of the UK's leading entrepreneurs and transport innovators. He is the co-founder of Stagecoach Group, the international public transport operator, which runs some of the UK's most recognised transport brands and is a market leader in delivering greener, smarter travel.


Brian is architect of the company's strategy and philosophy and, along with his sister, Ann Gloag, founded the company in Perth, Scotland, in 1980, with just two buses.


His vision, entrepreneurial flair and innovative ideas have transformed Stagecoach into an international market-leading business.


Listed on the London Stock Exchange since 1993, Stagecoach Group operates around 13,000 vehicles and rolling stock and employs around 30,000 people in the UK, United States and Canada.


A qualified chartered accountant, Brian has been a long-standing supporter of business in Scotland and has also pursued a number of ventures within the transport sector outside Stagecoach.  He is also a former Board member of Scottish Enterprise.


Brian still lives in his hometown of Perth, Scotland, and is married with four children. He has received a number of awards for his business acumen, his personal achievements and his significant contribution to the development of the public transport sector in the UK.


A strong advocate of business being an integral part of the communities they serve, Brian Souter makes significant personal financial contributions to a wide variety of good causes through the Souter Charitable Trust. The trust provides financial support to social projects, medical research and organisations promoting spiritual welfare.


Selected key dates:


1977-1980: trained as a Chartered Accountant with Arthur Andersen in Glasgow after graduating from University of Strathclyde with a BA in Accountancy.


1980: co-founded Stagecoach with his sister, Ann Gloag, and was Managing Director of the business.


1986-2002: As Executive Chairman of Stagecoach he was responsible for the company's business development strategy.


1992-2002: Board member of Scottish Enterprise


2002-present: returned as Group Chief Executive, successfully restructuring the company's North American operations and repositioning the Group to focus on organic growth in its core bus and rail operations in the UK and overseas.




1977-1980                   Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland - CA.

1973-1977                  University of Strathclyde, Glasgow - B.A., Accountancy and Economics

1966-1971                   Perth Academy, Perth


Honorary degrees


1999                   Doctor of Business Administration - University of Abertay

1997                   Doctor of Business Administration - University of Strathclyde      


Selected personal awards


  • 2008: UK Bus Awards - Special Recognition Award for services to the bus industry
  • 2004: Insider Elite Awards - Businessman of the Year
  • 1998: Scottish Entrepreneur Award.
  • 1989: Scottish Business Achievement Award Trust award.