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Centro names new chief as West Midlands transport vision gets approval

Centro names new chief as West Midlands transport vision gets approval

🕔18.Dec 2015

It’s all change at the top of West Midlands passenger transport executive Centro as long-serving chief executive Geoff Inskip prepares to bow out.

Inskip, who retires at the end of the month, will be replaced by James Aspinall, who joined Centro as finance director on 2006.

Mr Aspinall will oversee the end of Centro as it prepares to become the transport delivery arm of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

At the moment Centro is the delivery body for the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority (ITA), which will no longer exist when the combined authority begins work and takes responsibility for transport.

One of WMCA’s first and most important tasks will be to get to grips with delivering Movement for Growth, the latest 20-year strategy to deliver a step change in West Midlands transportation with improved tram, rail and bus services.

At the heart of the vision lies a plan to extend the Midland Metro tram service from Birmingham city centre to Birmingham Airport and the NEC, where it would link in with a planned HS2 high speed train station. A network of fast ‘sprint’ bus services is proposed for the region.

Mr Aspinall is a chartered accountant with more than 25 years’ experience in the finance, venture capital and public transport sectors. He has been responsible for providing strategic and financial overview of the region’s transport network and the financial probity and direction of Centro.

His previous posts include European financial controller for 3i Group and finance director for the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive.

Mr Aspinall said:

Geoff has done a tremendous job and his extensive knowledge and expertise will be missed.

But the creation of the West Midlands Combined Authority and the transport opportunities that come with that offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build on Geoff’s work and deliver a step change in public transport across the entire West Midlands over the coming decade.

Laura Shoaf, the ITA’s strategic director of transport and Chris Perry, Centro’s director of integrated mobility, have been appointed to the Centro executive board.

Integrated Transport Authority chair Cllr Roger Lawrence said:

I would like to thank Geoff for his dedication and service over the last decade.

He has helped secure a number of high profile projects including the Midland Metro tram extensions, the rebuilding of New Street Station, the region’s Swift smartcard and new bus stations at Halesowen, Stourbridge and Wolverhampton. Geoff can certainly be proud of his record.

Cllr John McNicholas, chairman of the ITA’s Delivery Committee, commented:

Geoff’s hard work and determination has been instrumental in driving forward many real world improvements for passengers and he is held in great esteem by many people both regionally and nationally.

Mr Inskip was appointed director general of Centro in 2006 after joining from Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE). He has more than 30 years’ experience in the finance, rail and public transport sectors. He said:

After ten thoroughly enjoyable years at Centro I’m now looking forward to having a couple of months to relax – although I will continue my work with UK Tram and the Prince’s Trust in the meantime.

Nevertheless, having spent the last three decades in public transport I feel I would like to continue to be involved in the industry in some capacity in the future.

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