Alexander Dennis CEO leaves driving seat for board role at firm's Canadian parent company

Robertson’s achievements include being awarded an CBE in 2019. Picture: contributed.Robertson’s achievements include being awarded an CBE in 2019. Picture: contributed.
Robertson’s achievements include being awarded an CBE in 2019. Picture: contributed.
Acclaimed bus industry boss Colin Robertson is to leave the chief executive role at double-decker builder Alexander Dennis, credited with having significantly accelerated the firm’s growth over the last 13 years.

Larbert-based Alexander Dennis Limited, known as ADL and part of Canada’s NFI Group Inc, said that as of 30 September, Robertson will be appointed to the latter’s board of directors as vice chair and will be succeeded by Paul Davies as ADL’s president and MD.

Robertson is also the chair of Entrepreneurial Scotland and was last year awarded a CBE for his services to exports and to the bus and coach manufacturing sector. Additionally, he has been recognised as Director of the Year by the Institute of Directors and EY awards for entrepreneurship and outstanding achievement.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Read More
Scottish bus firm Alexander Dennis to build up to 600 buses for Irish operator

As part of NFI’s £320 million acquisition of ADL in May 2019, Robertson agreed to remain in his current role for a year, but this was extended to ease the handover when Davies returns to his native Scotland next month.

Davies came on board at ADL in 1997 and has more than 25 years’ automotive and rail industry experience. As regional MD based in Hong Kong, he is credited with leading the company’s long-term profitable growth in the Asia Pacific region for the past 20 years.

Robertson, on being appointed to the role of vice chair, will assist board chair Brian Tobin, and NFI president and chief executive Paul Soubry in supporting the independent global bus manufacturing giant’s global growth.


Robertson draws on more than three decades of operational and senior leadership experience in manufacturing, and during his tenure at ADL “transformed [it] into the UK bus market leader and global leader for double-deck buses through a relentless focus on the customer and combining operational excellence, innovative products and best-in-class aftermarket support”.

ADL said that under his leadership, it has been consistently profitable with annual turnover increasing nearly four-fold to £631m and moving from being mainly UK-generated to international.

He said: “I am fiercely proud of what has been achieved through the hard work of the entire team and the collaborative partnerships we’ve developed with our suppliers and customers… I have every confidence that Paul will bring further success to ADL.”

Davies said: “I am deeply honoured to have been selected to take on the challenge of continuing the amazing journey that we’ve experienced under his leadership.”

Soubry said: “I have known Colin for nearly a decade and constantly sought a way to bring our two companies together and in the process gained a tremendous amount of respect for his business expertise and strategic vision.” He added that Davies “is exactly the right kind of leader to drive the next chapter of ADL as part of NFI”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Just weeks after Robertson’s appointment in 2007, ADL finalised the deal to buy Britain’s last remaining coach builder, Plaxton, “retaining and strengthening” the brand. The Scottish group now has more than 31,000 vehicles in service in the UK, Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada and the US.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.Subscribe to and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Joy Yates

Editorial Director

Related topics:



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.