THE new Chief Executive of Reading Buses has been announced.

Following the departure of Martijn Gilbert after nearly four years, Robert Williams will take the helm in October.

Currently the Commercial Director of Stagecoach South West, Robert is a Reading native and started his career as a conductor for Reading Mainline back in 1999, under Reading Transport.

He has since worked for Stagecoach, a leading bus and rail group, for 15 years, rising through the ranks from Commercial Officer to Commercial Manager in Oxford and, since 2012, Commercial Director in the South West.

Tony Pettitt, Reading's Chief Finance and Information Officer, will cover the role, supported by fellow Executive Director Caroline Anscombe, in the interim period following Martijn's departure in July.

Chair of Reading Buses David Sutton said: "Robert emerged as the strongest candidate from a very strong field of applicants. I am delighted that he is returning home to Reading to take on this role, and I look forward very much to working with him to ensure that Reading Buses continues to go from strength to strength in the future.”

Outgoing Chief Executive Officer Martijn Gilbert added: "Robert has a sound understanding of bus operations, a huge enthusiasm and passion for Reading and its buses and is well respected across the UK bus profession.

"I am delighted to be handing over to him and am very confident that he will continue to take Reading Buses, including our Kennections, Thames Valley and Green Line operations, forward in line with our emerging position as both a local and regional bus company, adapting to the economic changes and challenges around us, for a successful future."

Deputy Leader of RBC and Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, Cllr Tony Page said: "I was pleased to participate in the selection process and the appointment of Robert Williams whom I am confident will bring enormous experience to Reading Buses at a time of challenges to the Council’s award-winning bus company.”