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Translink chief quits after just three years

By Claire Regan

The man who earned £374,000 running Northern Ireland's public transport network last year has decided to leave the high-profile post.

Translink chief executive Keith Moffatt - who oversaw big changes to the bus and rail network - is to step down from the job on New Year's Eve after just three years in charge.

The board of the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company (NITHCo), Translink's parent body, confirmed the news in a statement released yesterday.

Chairman of the board Veronica Palmer said she was "disappointed that Keith has chosen to leave at this time", but wished him well. The statement added that the resignation was by "mutual agreement".

Mr Moffatt's decision to leave comes just weeks after it emerged in November that he received payments totalling £374,000 in a single year. NITHCo said it was appropriate remuneration for Mr Moffatt's "major progress" with Translink.

Among the biggest changes during his tenure, which began in the autumn of 2003, were the introduction of the Metro bus system and Spanish-built CAF trains, which replaced the ageing stock on Ulster's railways.

In the same statement, Mr Moffatt said he wished to "thank everyone at Translink for being so incredibly supportive during my time here".

"By working together, I believe we have made a real difference, turning decline into growth, and showing a positive way forward for the company and public transport in Northern Ireland."

"It has been a privilege to lead the company and I wish it every success in facing the new challenges ahead," he added.

Mrs Palmer paid tribute to Mr Moffatt, saying he played a big part in " developing public transport in Northern Ireland".

"Under his leadership, Translink has improved the range and quality of bus and rail services, notably with the introduction of the Metro service in the Greater Belfast area."

"These changes have delivered impressive increases in passenger numbers and restored financial stability to our operating companies," she added.

NITHCo now intends to review its executive structure and announce interim arrangements for the Translink management.

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