Arriva chief stays and the heir apparent goes


Click to follow
The Independent Online

The man tipped to become chief executive of the international bus and train giant Arriva has quietly left the company after its 60-year-old boss opted to stay for a few more years, The Independent has learnt.

Companies House filings show Mike Cooper resigned last month from the former FTSE 100 company, which was taken over by  the state-owned Deutsche Bahn in 2010. He is thought to have made his decision after the chief executive, David Martin, told his fellow directors that he wanted to delay his retirement.

“It looks like one of those situations where you look at your age, see how long it’s likely to take for the chief executive’s job to come vacant, and decide to try elsewhere,” said one observer.

However, it will raise a few eyebrows that Mr Cooper has not re-emerged at another employer. His only other current directorship is listed as managing director of a passenger transport trade body. Mr Cooper, 51, joined from Easyjet, where he was operations director, in 2005 to run Arriva’s huge buses business and was promoted to group deputy chief executive and managing director of mainland Europe.

His departure follows a flurry of recent changes at the group, including the arrival from Go-Ahead of Chris Burchell as managing director of the UK trains division, and the retirement of UK head Bob Holland.

A number of German and continental directors have joined the board since the takeover by Deutsche Bahn, but a spokesman for the group said it was being retained as a standalone company by its new owners.

Deutsche Bahn is using Arriva to expand its operations across Europe and has invested e750m in the business over the past two years. Last year Arriva lost £16.8m after heavy investment and the £7m cost of selling its unsuccessful Maltese operation.