Newcastle-based Orange Bus has announced changes to its senior team; co-founders Mike Parker and Julian Leighton have both stepped down from their roles and former chief commercial officer, James Hall, has been appointed chief executive officer - a significant milestone in a long-term plan.
Mike Parker has left the company and Mr Leighton, who will continue in a brand ambassador role indefinitely, said: “We’re delighted to have reached this milestone – we’ve been focused on getting the right senior management team in place for some time now and it’s a great feeling to know Orange Bus is ready for its next phase of, what will undoubtedly be, exponential growth. It’s also great to still be a part of it, I’m very proud of the company and I’ll be here for as long as I can add value.”
Orange Bus, which was acquired by Capita three years ago, has delivered on ambitious growth plans that saw revenues rocket by 23% in 2018. The company posted an annual turnover of £9m that year and is on track to deliver a further 25% increase in turnover for 2019.
The business, which has a 130-strong workforce, has evolved from a pioneering user experience design agency into a leader in service and experience design; providing the tools, techniques and skills that transform the customer experience for its clients and create clear commercial value.
Growth has been driven by contract wins in the utilities, retail and public sectors, particularly from complex organisations requiring solutions to better their digital engagement with staff and customers, to improve operational efficiency and customer experience. The portfolio includes a host of high-profile names including Porsche Motorsport, Mobilcom Debitel, BBC and Direct Line as well as HMRC and government departments.
Orange Bus is now eyeing unprecedented opportunities at home and overseas with Capita’s introduction of a new division, Capita Consulting, which is designed to offer something truly different to the market and deliver large scale, effective and responsible change.
Mr Hall has been instrumental in the company’s growth and transformation since he joined in 2017. With a wealth of experience in corporate strategy and business development, he has worked on projects all over the globe including Libya and Kazakhstan.
Before joining Orange Bus he spent four years at energy services company ENGIE, where he led an international team developing smart digital solutions designed to improve the lives of local communities.
He said: “During the last year alone we’ve been building the management team with this transition and the future growth of the organisation in mind. It’s all formed part of the transformation we’ve been through whilst simultaneously increasing revenue and profit, which is a fantastic achievement.”
Orange Bus now has the platform to accelerate its growth, a new London office has been opened and additional space added to HQ in Milburn House in Newcastle, where innovation labs will be set up to allow the company to continue at the forefront of experience innovation. There are also plans to set up further UK and international offices.
“In this industry the potential for growth is huge; digital and technology consultancy are the fastest growing areas in the sector and are set to be worth £3.5bn globally.” said Mr Hall. “We help organisations capitalise on technological advancements, such as artificial intelligence, to improve the experience of their customers interactions, enabling them to attract new customers and retain current ones, which delivers real commercial value to our clients.”
“I’m excited to be leading the company going forward as we enter this really exciting time. There’ll be growth across all of our capabilities – from service design consultants to developers and it’s fantastic to be able to do this in the North East.”
Orange Bus has received several notable accolades on the regional and national stage with awards from Top 50 Fastest Growing Technology Companies, The Techies’ Web Development House the Dynamites’ Outstanding Achievement and Large Digital Agency of the Year at the prestigious Northern Digital Awards.