Sir Brian Souter (b. 1954) is a Scottish businessman and philanthropist, and co-founder and Chairman of Stagecoach Group plc, one of Britain’s largest transport operators.
Brian was born in Perth, Scotland, the son of a bus driver. He studied at Abertay University to become a commerce teacher, later graduating from Strathclyde University with a CA Diploma in Accountancy and Economics. His first job was as a Chartered Accountant working at Arthur Andersen & Co. In 1980, his father was made redundant and with the redundancy money Brian, his sister Ann, and brother-in-law Robin, founded the Stagecoach Group. The business began with two buses running between Dundee and London, and saw rapid expansion. By the 1990s, Stagecoach was in a position to acquire subsidiaries of the National Bus Company and further bus operations in Scotland, London, Newcastle and Manchester.
In 1993, Stagecoach was valued at £134 million and was floated on the London Stock Exchange. The company continued to develop its interests in Australia and New Zealand, Hong Kong, the USA and Canada. In 1995 Brian successfully bid on a new rail franchise to run South West Trains, Britain’s biggest commuter network. Stagecoach continues to operate the service with the addition of South Western and East Midlands Trains and a 49% stake in Virgin Rail Group, which operates the West Coast Main Line. Stagecoach now employs more than 30,000 people worldwide, operating 7000 buses in the UK, and with substantial bus operations in North East America.
Brian has received a number of awards, including the Scottish Business Achievement Award in 1989 and the Scottish Entrepreneur Award in 1998. He received honorary degrees from Strathclyde University in 1997 and Abertay University in 1999. He was awarded a knighthood in 2011.
Brian was honoured by the British Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame 2012.