With the pending departure of Linda Burtwistle, Dennis Maple has been appointed president of North America's largest school bus contracting company, First Student.
Maple joins First Student from Aramark Corp., where he held a number of senior roles over the past 10 years. Most recently, he served as president of Aramark Education.
Maple has also held senior management roles with large food industry companies, including Coors Brewing Co., Kraft General Foods Inc., PepsiCo Inc. and Quaker Oats Co.
FirstGroup officials cited Maple's "outstanding record of leadership and delivery" in contract-based operations and his experience in the North American K-12 education sector. As president of Aramark Education, he oversaw the provision of integrated services to about 3,600 schools across some 500 school districts in the U.S.
Tim O’Toole, chief executive of First Student parent company FirstGroup, said that Maple "has a proven track record of leadership, business improvement and building strong relationships with customers, partners and employees. Although there remains much to be done to leverage our scale as the market leader and deliver long-term sustainable growth, the wealth of experience that Dennis brings will be invaluable in driving the recovery program forward to the next phase and building on the actions already taken."
First Student runs a fleet of about 50,000 school buses, carrying some 6 million students each school day in the U.S. and Canada.
Maple said that the school bus contractor serves "a market that I am passionate about and have significant experience of operating within. I look forward to joining the team and to the challenge of leading First Student during this important stage of its evolution in creating a stronger business with a sustainable competitive advantage for the future.”
Maple succeeds Linda Burtwistle, who will step down as president of First Student after a brief handover period.
Burtwistle joined FirstGroup in 2008, taking on her first general management role as president of First Transit and First Services. Before that, she had worked in financial positions at several bus and rail companies since 1996.
In 2009, Burtwistle was named president of First Student, a role in which she was credited with overseeing the initial stages of a transformation program to create a more efficient operating model and uniform practices. (Read more about First Student's efficiency initiatives here.)
O'Toole, the FirstGroup chief executive, thanked Burtwistle "for her efforts and commitment in establishing the first stages of the transformation at First Student, and [I] wish her well for the future.”
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