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.