can the bus industry benefit from a little outside influence?

It's a rare field of work where most people at the top started sweeping the factory floor or as a £50 a week apprentice in that very same industry.

The bus industry however, seems to be that very place - where those with influence have spent most of their professional career with a timetable in one hand and a list of services in the other.

Two notable (current) managing director exceptions to the shop floor approach are Fiona Kerr at First in Glasgow and Kevin O'Connor at Arriva Bus. They arrived at the top via PwC & John Menzies and Waitrose & G4S respectively - about as far away from public transport as you could imagine.

So is there a right way and a wrong way? Of course not. But for me, a bit of outsider thinking can only add something to the mix.

I'll be honest and say I've not studied the FTSE100 in detail, but I'm willing to wager a few quid that the people sat around the boardroom of a given company haven't spent their whole career in that particular industry.

They will have considerable experience in a particular discipline, and this will have been gathered across a variety of industries both home and overseas. This gives the board member perspective, and an understanding that there isn't only the one solution to any given problem. They are in a position to challenge the industry status quo on any number of issues.

The best leaders will realise they are always learning, and just because they've always done things a certain way, that doesn't mean more suitable alternatives don't exist. I definitely think that experience of doing things a number of ways can benefit both the company and ultimately, its customers.

It will be interesting to see if the tenures of both Fiona and Kevin bring differing ways of doing things to those traditionally seen in the industry.

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