Northern Ireland manufacturer, Wrightbus, has appointed Neil Collins as new managing director.

Collins will be running the business alongside executive chairman, Jo Bamford, who took Wrightbus from administration in 2019 and chief executive, Buta Atwal.

Wrightbus now has more than 600 employees, up from the 50 who were in post when the business was taken over.

“I’ve known about Wrightbus all my life so it’s a real honour to be coming into the company at an incredibly exciting phase in its development,” said Collins.

“Wrightbus isn’t just leading the UK in zero emissions transport, it’s leading the world and truly has global ambitions. My job is to accelerate sales and growth and ensure we always stay ahead of the competition.”

Collins joins Wrightbus from Austrian mobile crushing firm, Rubble Master, where he was Ireland MD. Before that he worked for Dimplex where he was MD for Northern Ireland before holding the same post for the Dimplex Group’s Heating and Ventilation Division.

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He championed various net zero initiatives during his time at both companies.

“Wrightbus has taken the lead with its hydrogen and EV buses, but we have to keep our foot down on the product development,” added Collins. “We want our buses operating all over the world and we will continue to be relentless in innovating and developing new technologies.”

In Ireland, Collis is arguably best known for his sporting exploits as goalkeeper for the Down GAA team, winning two All-Ireland titles in the space of four years.

“I’m an engineer by trade and I cannot wait to get stuck in here in Ballymena,” noted Collins. “It’s a phenomenal facility and has bounced back impressively.

“We want the best people to work here and we want the local community to see there’s a bright future on their doorstep.”