Former bosses get recalled by Bus Eireann in contract bid
FIVE top executives who retired or took voluntary redundancy from Bus Eireann have been hired back as consultants to help the semi-state win a lucrative overseas contract.
Bus Eireann recalled the five executives to help its pitch for a contract to advise the Saudi Arabians on the expansion of its school transport scheme.
Bus Eireann refused to confirm the identity of the departed executives who are now believed to back on a consultancy basis. They are understood to include Tim Hayes, the former chief executive who retired last year after 34 years at the semi-state.
Many of the bus company's long-serving managers availed of a recent voluntary redundancy scheme that was aimed at cutting 250 jobs to save €30m last year. The bus company also cut routes and bus frequency.
In a statement, Bus Eireann confirmed it has been "shortlisted to provide strategic and technical advice for the expansion of school transport in a large Middle Eastern country". It confirmed that "former managers" were advising the company on the project.
The Sunday Independent understands that the project relates to a contract in Saudi Arabia, where there is an estimated five million school-going children.
A spokesman for Bus Eireann said the contract could lead to the creation of a small number of jobs in the short-term, with further employment opportunities in the future.
"Bus Eireann has put in place a project team to attempt to win this potentially significant business that includes former managers who collectively have decades worth of experience in designing, developing and operating national and international public transport systems," the statement said.
"The pitch process has had a short lead time and the experience and expertise of the former managers is being utilised so that senior management can input into the process while continuing to focus on day-to-day operations."
Bus Eireann competed with US, Canadian, Australian and British operators to make the shortlist. It runs the school transport scheme for the Department of Transport.