New managing director with global ambition joins NI bus firm Wrightbus

World-leading Northern Ireland bus manufacturer Wrightbus has announced the appointment of a new managing director to help continue the company’s growth.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 6:00 am

Neil Collins, a seasoned managing director and former top-level sportsman, will be running the business alongside executive chairman Jo Bamford, who rescued Wrightbus from administration in 2019, and chief executive Buta Atwal.

Wrightbus now boasts more than 600 employees, up from the 50 that were in post when the business was taken over.

Neil lives with his wife and two daughters in County Down, said he was excited to join a company which had huge ambition.

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New Wrightbus managing director, Neil Collins

“I’ve known about Wrightbus all my life so it’s a real honour to be coming into the company at an incredibly exciting phase in its development,” he outlined.

“Wrightbus isn’t just leading the UK in zero emissions transport, it’s leading the world and truly has global ambitions.

“My job is to accelerate sales and growth and ensure we always stay ahead of the competition.”

Neil has made his name in industry and in sport.

He joins Wrightbus from Austrian mobile crushing firm Rubble Master, where he was Ireland managing director. Before that he worked for Dimplex where he was managing director for Northern Ireland before becoming manufacturing director for the Dimplex Group’s Heating and Ventilation Division. He championed various net zero initiatives during his time at both companies and is keen to ensure Wrightbus continues to push the boundaries in the coming years.

Looking to the future, he explained: “Wrightbus has taken the lead with its hydrogen and EV buses but we have to keep our foot down on the product development. We want our buses operating all over the world and we will continue to be relentless in innovating and developing new technologies.”

Neil will be arguably best known for his sporting exploits as a goalkeeper for the Down GAA team, winning two All-Ireland titles in the space of four years.

He added: “I’m an engineer by trade and I cannot wait to get stuck in here in Ballymena. It’s a phenomenal facility and has bounced back impressively. We want the best people to work here and we want the local community to see there’s a bright future on their doorstep.”

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