Wrightbus chief executive Buta Atwal to retire at end of 2022

Buta Atwal (left) with Wrightbus chairman Jo Bamford.
Buta Atwal (left) with Wrightbus chairman Jo Bamford.

WRIGHTBUS chief executive Buta Atwal has announced plans to retire at the end of this year.

Mr Atwal, who took over after Jo Bamford rescued the Ballymena bus-maker out of administration in 2019, will be succeeded by Joerg Hofmann, the current chief executive of black cab manufacturer, London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC).

The announcement comes after the Ballymena firm landed what could one of its most significant electric bus supply contracts to date with the Republic’s National Transport Authority.

A framework agreement signed with the Irish state-owned body means an initial £69 million order for 120 buses could rise to 800 inside five years.

Paying tribute to Buta Atwal last night, Jo Bamford said he had been instrumental in the firm’s success.

“I managed to persuade Buta to come out of retirement once, when we bought Wrightbus out of administration in October 2019, but twice has proved impossible and he leaves with our best wishes and thanks for a job well done,” he said.

Mr Hofmann will join Wrightbus in in September 2022 and will work alongside Mr Atwal in a transition phase.

“It has been an enormous privilege to oversee the incredible advancements we have made since taking over the business in 2019, but the time is now right for me to move on and pursue some of my own personal interests,” said Mr Atwal.

“I want to be with my family more and explore my faith, which is very important to me, more deeply.

"We have a tremendous team in place, so I feel comfortable that I and the company are in a position to allow me to do this.”