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Stagecoach adds ex-Virgin Atlantic CFO as non-executive

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STAGECOACH HAS APPOINTED Virgin Atlantic’s former CFO as a non-executive director.

Chartered accountant Julie Southern, who will take up her role from 7 October, was Virgin Atlantic finance chief for a decade until 2010, when she became chief commercial officer until 2013. Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Rail are both part of the Virgin Group. Stagecoach has a joint venture with Virgin Rail.

Prior to Virgin Atlantic, Southern was group finance director at Porsche Cars Great Britain and is former finance and operations director at HJ Chapman & Co.
Southern holds non-executive positions Rentokil Initial plc, DFS Furniture plc, Cineworld Group plc, NXP Semi-Conductors N.V. and gategroup Holding AG. Southern has told gategroup, which is facing a takeover bid, that she would resign once the takeover deal has been settled.

Last month Stagecoach, whose group chairman is Sir Brian Souter, reported a disappointing trading update resulting in its shares falling.

The transport group said that although full year earnings were to be in line with expectations, “there is a higher than usual degree of forecasting uncertainty”.

Regional bus revenues fell 1.9% in the first 16 weeks of the new financial year. UK rail rose only 1.7% compared to a 2.8% rise last year, including Virgin Rail East Coast.

The company said: “UK rail industry revenue growth has slowed over the last year and the outlook for the industry remains uncertain, particularly given its sensitivity to economic conditions….We believe the reduced rate of growth reflects the effects of weakening consumer and business confidence, increased terrorism concerns, sustained lower fuel prices, the related effects of car and air competition, slower UK GDP growth and slowing growth in real earnings.

Read our interview with Stagecoach FD Ross Paterson.

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