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Cash-strapped Translink's new boss will pocket £156,000 a year

By Adrian Rutherford

Published 23/05/2015

Translink’s Chris Conway
Translink’s Chris Conway

The new boss of Translink will be paid around £156,000 a year.

Chris Conway was yesterday named as chief executive of the cash-strapped public transport company.

The former managing director of telecommunications giant Nortel will take up his post later this year.

He replaces David Strahan, who is standing down in September to become a gospel preacher.

Translink did not reveal the exact details of Mr Conway's salary.

However, a spokesman said his package would be "similar" to that of the outgoing chief executive, who earned around £156,000 a year.

Mr Strahan announced in February that he would be stepping down after just three months in charge.

His replacement was confirmed yesterday as Mr Conway, who is currently managing director of Tata Steel's sales and distribution business in Ireland.

Mr Conway will assume the post as group chief executive on September 7.

He takes over a company in the midst of a cash crisis.

In February Mr Strahan warned the company could go out of existence unless it further hikes fares or makes cuts to services.

Translink announced in December that bus and rail fares would rise by 4%. The company has attracted a series of negative headlines in recent months over its use of taxis, company cars and free travel for staff.

John Trethowan from the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company said the appointment of Mr Conway followed an extensive recruitment campaign.

"We are delighted with this appointment which follows a recruitment competition that attracted significant interest and a very high calibre field," he said.

"In Chris Conway we are confident that we have found an experienced and skilled individual. He is the right person to lead Translink."

Trevor Clarke, who chairs the Assembly's regional development committee, also welcomed the appointment.

"Mr Conway has a strong track record in business which will be of great benefit in dealing with many of the challenges facing the organisation," said Mr Clarke.

"There have been some positive steps recently in identifying efficiencies within Translink, but that has been outweighed by recent revelations about spending which demonstrate the scale of the work still to be done."

Transport Minister Danny Kennedy congratulated Mr Conway on his appointment.

"My department looks forward to working with Chris and I wish him every success in leading Translink and delivering improvements to public transport services across Northern Ireland," he said.

Background

A native of Northern Ireland, Chris Conway is currently managing director of Tata Steel's sales and distribution business in Ireland. Mr Conway is chairman of Northern Ireland Co-operation Overseas and a member of the board of trustees of Young Enterprise.

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