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Brian Souter Awarded Knighthood Queens Birthday Honours List

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Stagecoach Group co-founder and Chief Executive Brian Souter has been awarded a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours List published today (11 June 2011).

He becomes Sir Brian Souter for his service to transport and the voluntary sector.

Sir Brian (57) is one of the UK's foremost entrepreneurs, a significant supporter of charitable causes and the country's leading public transport innovator.

He 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 35,000 employees and an annual turnover of more than £2billion.

Sir Brian said: "Having started my career in public transport as a young bus conductor, I am delighted to receive this prestigious honour. However, the achievements and innovations would not have been possible without the dynamic Stagecoach team who support me and I accept this award on their behalf.

"It was particularly gratifying for me to see the work of the Souter Charitable Trust being acknowledged, which is a fitting tribute to my wife, Betty, and her team who never seek publicity but do amazing work."

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.

Listed on the London Stock Exchange since 1993, the Group won the first UK rail franchise in the mid-1990s when it took over South West Trains, the UK's biggest commuter rail network.

Sir Brian has spearheaded efforts to change people's perceptions of public transport and encourage car users to switch to greener, smarter travel options.

His innovative ideas, such as Stagecoach's budget travel service megabus.com, have developed new markets. He has also been the driving force behind Stagecoach's sustainability strategy to reduce the company's own carbon footprint and help consumers lead greener lives.

Sir Brian is also one of the UK's best-known private entrepreneurs, with an eye for new business opportunities. He has his own wide portfolio of personal investments, managed through Souter Investments, which includes bus and ferry companies in New Zealand, a large stake in bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis Ltd, and other transport ventures in Poland and Turkey. Sir Brian is a committed angel investor, providing crucial seed capital for new business start-ups to help the next generation of British entrepreneurs.

He is also a significant contributor to charitable causes through the Souter Charitable Trust, supporting many health and community projects, as well as initiatives to benefit young people. Last year, he launched the UK's first Healthy Heart Bus, a voluntary heart health screening programme for employees in Stagecoach's UK Bus division, personally pledging £1million towards the £2m initiative.



For further information, please contact Stagecoach Group Communications on 01738 442111 or email media@stagecoachgroup.com.




Stagecoach Group

  • Stagecoach Group is a leading international public transport group, with extensive operations in the UK, United States and Canada. The company employs around 35,000 people, and operates bus, coach, rail, and tram services.
  • Stagecoach is one of UK's biggest bus and coach operators. Around 2.5 million passengers travel on Stagecoach's 8,100 buses every day on a network stretching from south-west England to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The company's business includes major city bus operations in London, Liverpool, Newcastle, Hull, Manchester, Oxford, Sheffield and Cambridge.
  • 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.

Sir Brian Souter biography

Sir Brian Souter (57) 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.

Sir 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 35,000 people in the UK, United States and Canada.

A qualified chartered accountant, Sir 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.

Sir 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, Sir Brian 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.

  • Full biographical information about Sir Brian Souter is available on his personal website at www.briansouter.com

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 and Economics.

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

2010: Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards - UK Master Entrepreneur of the Year

2010: European Talent in Mobility Awards: Special Award for career of service to public transport.

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.